White House blasts Bush legacy after father and son unload on Trump in new book.

White House Blasts Bush Legacy After Father and Son Unload on Trump in New Book

White House Blasts Bush Legacy After Father and Son Unload on Trump in New Book

The Slatest has moved! You can find new stories here.
The Slatest
Your News Companion
Nov. 4 2017 1:54 PM

White House Blasts Bush Legacy After Father and Son Unload on Trump in New Book

Former Presidents George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush speak to the crowd before game five of the 2017 World Series between the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Minute Maid Park on October 29, 2017 in Houston, Texas.

Pool/Getty Images

It really was no secret that the Bushes aren’t really big fans of President Donald Trump. But a new book puts that on stark display with former President George H.W. Bush describing the current commander in chief as a “blowhard” and revealing he voted for Hillary Clinton. His son, George W. Bush, didn’t go as far as to vote for a Democrat but allegedly left the presidential ballot blank and now says Trump has no understanding of how to be president. More than anything though, the Bushes are concerned that Trump is destroying the Republican Party.

As could be expected, the White House didn’t stay quiet as the New York Times and CNN revealed details included in The Last Republicans, a book that is scheduled to be released on Nov. 14. “If one Presidential candidate can disassemble a political party, it speaks volumes about how strong a legacy its past two presidents really had,” the White House wrote in a statement to CNN. The White House went on to call Bush’s decision to invade Iraq, “one of the greatest foreign policy mistakes in American history.”

Mark Updegrove, the author of the book, talked to both Bushes on the record and they made it clear last year they were none too happy about the former reality television star becoming president. “I’m worried that I will be the last Republican president,” the younger Bush told Updegrove at one point during the campaign. The quote became the inspiration for the book’s title. “At the time, I think he was concerned that Hillary Clinton would win,” Updegrove told the Times. “But if you look at his values and those shared by his father and Ronald Reagan, they are very much in contrast to the values of the Republican Party today, in particular the platform that Donald Trump ran on, which is essentially protectionism and a certain xenophobia.”

The criticism isn’t really surprising considering that it comes shortly after the younger Bush gave a speech in which he didn’t actually name the president but made it abundantly clear he wasn’t happy with the current administration. The book also has some surprisingly frank reactions by George W. Bush to certain claims, including that his vice president, Dick Cheney, and defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, were the real power brokers in his administration. They “didn’t make one fucking decision,” Bush said.

“I understand his frustration, because at the time there was the perception that Dick Cheney was the acting president,” Updegrove told CNN. “That Cheney was sort of a Machiavellian puppet master. But, in fact, George W. Bush had had a lifetime of making bold decisions. He has this natural confidence in himself as a leader. And if you talk to those around him, they have confidence in his leadership. And so, this notion that Cheney was making the decisions is ludicrous.”

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the Today’s Papers column from 2006 to 2009. Follow him on Twitter.