Former president George W. Bush blasted Donald Trump’s policies as “isolationist” at a private fundraising event on Tuesday — without ever naming the GOP nominee.
According to sources who attended the fundraiser for Sen. Rob Portman, Bush told a crowd of about 400 attendees that policies encouraging “isolationism, nativism, and protectionism” were bad for the United States.
Mr. Trump has broken with GOP orthodoxy and pushed an ‘America First’ platform that calls for renegotiating trade deals, reconsidering longstanding military alliances, and curbing immigration by Muslims and people from countries beset with terrorism. He has repeatedly denounced Mr. Bush for the 2003 invasion of Iraq, though he never publicly opposed the war before it began.
Mr. Bush told the crowd of about 400 people that he had been reflecting on threats against American exceptionalism, though he didn’t put his remarks in the context of the 2016 presidential campaign. Mr. Bush spoke for 20 minutes in the Diamond Club of the Cincinnati Reds baseball stadium and spent another 40 minutes answering a half-dozen questions.
Bush also said the presidency as an institution is more important than which party’s candidate gets to occupy the Oval Office.
“We’re lucky because we’ll always have the presidency,” he said.