George W. Bush's record in office became the subject of numerous tweets after a video message released Saturday from the former president elicited praise from some Democrats.
Good morning. George W Bush belongs in The Hague.— Benjamin Dixon (@BenjaminPDixon) May 3, 2020
In the video statement, shared on Twitter by the George W. Bush Presidential Center, Bush called on people to come together to face the "shared threat" of the coronavirus pandemic. The former president said "we have faced times of testing before," referencing the post 9/11 period when he said the nation rose "as one to grieve with the grieving"—a time period his administration rolled out its war on terror, which included a torture program.
Progressive journalists pushed back against those who appeared to be sanitizing Bush's record and suggesting he was preferable to President Donald Trump.
George W. Bush:— Warren Gunnels (@GunnelsWarren) May 3, 2020
- lied us into the Iraq War leading to 460K+ deaths
- totally botched the response to Hurricane Katrina
- led us into the Great Recession
- fought to privatize Social Security
- slashed taxes for the wealthy & large corporations
Nothing should erase this record.
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Like what is wrong with you? pic.twitter.com/YjVSp4wG9y— Sana Saeed (@SanaSaeed) May 3, 2020
If you had told me four years ago that George W Bush would be a hero to Democrats I would have had you committed. This is absolute insanity. The man is a war criminal who also let thousands die during Katrina. https://t.co/6WunURPQzY— Farron Cousins (@farronbalanced) May 3, 2020
The nice little painter man who passed mints to Michelle Obama at a funeral is actually a mass murderer who belongs in front of a war crimes tribunal, not being praised for releasing web videos.— jeremy scahill (@jeremyscahill) May 3, 2020
Writing in 2018, Andy Worthington, investigative journalist and author of The Guantanamo Files, criticized the "bizarre propensity, on the part of those in the center and on the left of U.S. political life, to seek to rehabilitate the previous Republican president, George W. Bush."
Worthington pointed to a Pew poll as Trump took office showing that 48% of Americans backed the use of torture in some circumstances, saying it was "a sign of the enduring power of the Bush administration's bellicose pro-torture maneuverings in the wake of the 9/11 attacks."