George W. Bush Says He Wrote in Condoleezza Rice in 2020 Presidential Election

Then-President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice wave as they arrive at the White House in Washington, D.C., November 17, 2008. (Jason Reed/Reuters)

Former President George W. Bush recently revealed that instead of voting for Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election, he wrote in the name of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

“She knows it,” Bush reportedly told People magazine of Rice, who served as secretary of state during his presidency. “But she told me she would refuse to accept the office.”

In 2016, Bush and former first lady Laura Bush did not cast votes for a presidential candidate, voting only for Republican candidates in down-ballot races, his spokesperson said.

Bush’s decision not to vote for his party’s nominee two presidential cycles running may be the product of bad blood between the Bush family and Trump in the wake of the 2016 GOP primary.

During the 2016 race, Trump repeatedly insulted Bush’s brother, Jeb Bush, who also ran a 2016 bid for the presidency. While campaigning, Trump also criticized the Bush legacy and blamed George W. Bush for the 9/11 terrorist attacks. 

Though Bush has been critical of the GOP in recent promotional interviews for his new book Out of Many, One: Portraits of America’s Immigrants, he used the People interview to walk back his recent harsh appraisal of the party.

In an interview with NBC’s Today that aired Tuesday, Bush called the GOP “isolationist, protectionist and, to a certain extent, nativist.”

He later toned down his remarks in his interview with People: “Really, what I should have said — there’s loud voices who are isolationists, protectionists and nativists, something, by the way, I talked about when I was president.”

“But I painted with too broad a brush … because by saying what I said, it excluded a lot of Republicans who believe we can fix the problem,” he added.

While promoting the new book, which features portraits of American immigrants, Bush has said he hopes to usher in a more “respectful tone” on Capitol Hill.

The mission of the book, he said, is to help change Congress’ outlook on the country’s immigration policy. 

“Please put aside all the harsh rhetoric about immigration,” Bush said, addressing Congress in an interview with CBS News that aired Sunday. “Please put aside trying to score political points on either side.”

Bush, a Republican who served as president from 2001 to 2009, has supported a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants given they pass a background check and pay any back taxes.

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