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Then-President George W. Bush addresses the nation during his State of the Union address from Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on January 20, 2004.

Then-President George W. Bush addresses the nation during his State of the Union address from Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on January 20, 2004. Bush vowed that the United States "will never seek a permission slip" to go to war as he took aim in his annual State of the Union speech at critics of the invasion of Iraq. At left is Vice President Dick Cheney; at right House Speaker Dennis Hastert, (R-Ill.). (Photo: Kevin Lamarque/AFP/Getty Images)

'Belongs in The Hague': Online Disgust Follows Glowing Praise for George W. Bush's Covid-19 Message

Key aspects of the 43rd president's administration were highlighted this weekend after Trump critics appear to have whitewashed Bush's legacy.

Andrea Germanos

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.

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.

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."


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