Progressives looked on Sunday as popular television personality Ellen DeGeneres attended a football game with former President George W. Bush and surmised that President Donald Trump will be subject to the same kind of image rehabilitation after he leaves office.
The two were caught by cameras laughing together and singing the national anthem with their respective spouses, Laura Bush and Portia de Rossi, during the Dallas Cowboys' 34-24 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.
Reaction to the duo's friendliness from progressives emphasized DeGeneres taking in the game with a man who ran for re-election in 2004 on a platform based in part on denying her civil rights and whose presidency upended the Middle East and codified torture into U.S. foreign policy.
Karl Rove openly used opposition to gay marriage to barely win Ohio and a second term for the Iraq War climate denying Bush administration. https://t.co/QaWAJEdN9j— Lori Freshwater (@loufreshwater) October 7, 2019
Media Matters editor-at-large Parker Molloy expressed her disgust at DeGeneres chummily taking in the game with "one of history's greatest monsters."
"Every American president has been complicit in some evil stuff," said Molloy. "But George W. Bush is next-level."
Citations Needed co-host Nima Sharazi pointed to DeGeneres' longstanding work to rehabilitate Bush's image, including an infamously fawning interview of the former president in 2017.
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"To be clear, this is not new for Ellen," said Sharazi.
As journalist Ben Geier pointed out, Bush hasn't exactly been quiet during his post presidency—the former president lobbied extensively to get Brett Kavanaugh a place on the Supreme Court bench when Kavanaugh's prospects looked uncertain after multiple allegations of sexual misconduct were revealed last year.
"He literally helped push the tide when it looked like it was iffy!" tweeted Geier. "Absolute fucking scum."
The way that Bush is being treated, said Media Matters' Molloy, bodes ill for anyone hoping Trump won't be normalized in his post-presidency.
"I know that there are a lot of people who think that Trump is going to be some sort of pariah post-presidency, but he will absolutely have his image rehabbed," said Molloy. "He'll be on TV, his eventual funeral will be well-attended, etc."
Trump is up for a tough re-eleciton fight in 2020 and could leave office in January, 2021—if not ousted earlier by impeachment. The Ellen Show is under contract until 2022.