NBC Mentions Biden Border Crisis to Bush, Then Bashes GOP Instead


Watching NBC’s Today show interview with former President George W. Bush on Tuesday, viewers might think that the Republican Party was in control of Washington rather than the Democrats. While co-host Hoda Kotb alluded to the massive illegal immigration border crisis occurring on President Joe Biden’s watch, she repeatedly urged the former president to scold the GOP over the issue instead.  

“I’m looking at these beautiful portraits of these immigrants and then I’m thinking about other images that are so disturbing to me,” Kotb remarked during the live sit-down, referring both to Bush’s new book of portraits he painted of American immigrants and the footage of the humanitarian crisis unfolding at the U.S. southern border. She cited particularly disturbing cases of unaccompanied minors: “…remember the little ten-year-old boy who was wandering, crying…Or the two and three-year-olds who were dropped right over the fence.”

Kotb frustratingly asked: “I mean, I was just thinking about those images and I just keep thinking, like, why can’t we get this right?”

 

 

In reply, Bush analyzed the topic and pointed out government failures:

I talked to a Border Patrol head down there, in the southern sector, one of the problems we have right now is that many of the law enforcement, the Border Patrol agents are pulled off duty to deal with children and, you know, to guard hospitals. And it just goes to show, there’s a real shortage of manpower and focus down there.

However, rather than ask about current President Biden’s obvious mishandling of the crisis, Kotb instead pressed Bush to criticize Republicans: “But I thought you said something interesting in an interview a couple of days ago, and I’m paraphrasing, but you said as you talk about immigration reform you’re not so sure that your Republican colleagues are listening. Why not?”

In part, Bush pointed out that Democrats were equally guilty of politicization: “Some of them aren’t because of the politics. And some of the Democrat colleagues weren’t listening when I was president because you can score political points with the issue.”

Again, Kotb refused to acknowledge Democrats being at fault in any way, keeping the focus exclusively on the GOP: “Well, okay, if you were to describe the Republican Party, as you see it today, how would you describe it?” Bush provided the answer she was looking for: “I would describe it as isolationist, protectionist, and to a certain extent, nativist.” Kotb seized on the comments, following up with: “Are you disappointed?”

Moments later, the NBC morning host imagined the liberal media ideal of a Republican presidential candidate – a Democrat:

Okay, let me give you a hypothetical candidate for 2024, okay? This hypothetical Republican is pro-immigration, pro-a path to citizenship for undocumented workers, and pro-DACA, pro-reasonable gun control and pro-education funding for public schools, does that person have a shot? Or that Republican – would that Republican have a shot in 2024?

Bush initially accepted her hypothetical, but then clarified:

I think that it depends upon the emphasis….I think “pro-immigration” isn’t the right way to put it. I think border enforcement with a compassionate touch. That’s how I would put it. Because pro-immigration basically means, “Let’s just open up the borders.” And nobody’s really for that. And you can’t have a country that has open borders.

Kotb noted to Bush: “Now, I feel like you’ve made it a point not to criticize your predecessors….Have you ever been tempted?”

While denying ever wanting to publicly speak out and defend his record, Bush did admit to occasionally being tempted to criticize presidents that followed him. When Kotb asked, “Anything you want to share?,” Bush hinted at which predecessor he was thinking of: “Anyone in particular? No, I think I’m fine. If I did, Michelle Obama might not be my friend.”

At least Kotb mentioned the fact that there was a border crisis. During an interview with Bush for CBS Sunday Morning, Evening News anchor Norah O’Donnell completely ignored the disastrous situation. Instead, like Kotb, she used the exchange with Bush to take jabs at the Republican Party’s “most strident voices” on immigration.

The media have no interest in holding Democrats accountable for anything – even when they control all branches of government. Instead, reporters just pretend Republicans are in power and try to blame them for things that go wrong on the watch of a Democratic president and Democratic Congress.

Kotb’s effort to blame the GOP for the border crisis was brought to viewers by Citi and Amazon. You can fight back by letting these advertisers know what you think of them sponsoring such content.

Here is a transcript of the April 20 exchange:

8:17 AM ET

(…)

HODA KOTB: Let’s talk immigration for a second. And I’m looking at these beautiful portraits of these immigrants and then I’m thinking about other images that are so disturbing to me. That – remember the little ten-year-old boy…

GEORGE W. BUSH: Do I ever.

KOTB: …who was wandering, crying through the – yeah, you can picture him. Or the two and three-year-olds who were dropped right over the fence. I mean, I was just thinking about those images and I just keep thinking, like, why can’t we get this right?

BUSH: Well, you know, it’s hard for Americans to understand – and I can’t really understand –  why a mother becomes so desperate or how a mother becomes so desperate that she’s willing to put her children in a hands of a coyote, a smuggler. And so there’s been a lot of devastation in Central America, political upheaval, earthquakes, gangs and drug lords, and the people are totally intimidated. And so they’re streaming to our border.

The system really needs to be reformed and fixed. Two things I think will help alleviate that. One is an asylum process that more is more robust. In other words, the border is being overwhelmed right now and there needs to be more judges and more courts so people can have a fair hearing. And secondly, we need to change the work visas. There’s a lot of jobs that are empty and there’s a lot of jobs that need to be filled. And yet, there are people willing to work hard to do so. And so I think a combination of those two would help alleviate some of the border.

I talked to a Border Patrol head down there, in the southern sector, one of the problems we have right now is that many of the law enforcement, the Border Patrol agents are pulled off duty to deal with children and, you know, to guard hospitals. And it just goes to show, there’s a real shortage of manpower and focus down there.

KOTB: Well, you’re so passionate about this.

BUSH: I am passionate.

KOTB: You’re lobbying, obviously, by this book, you’re lobbying for it. But I thought you said something interesting in an interview a couple of days ago, and I’m paraphrasing, but you said as you talk about immigration reform you’re not so sure that your Republican colleagues are listening. Why not?

BUSH: Some of them aren’t because of the politics. And some of the Democrat colleagues weren’t listening when I was president because you can score political points with the issue. And so part of the purpose of the book is to elevate the discourse and to remind our fellow citizens about the – you know, the beauty of America that attracts people who are escaping tyranny or fleeing oppression or just want an opportunity to provide a better life.

And today, we’re swearing in a group of citizens who were on the front line of the pandemic, many of them, and they weren’t even citizens of the United States.

KOTB: Yeah.

BUSH: It’s a beautiful country we have, and yet, it is not beautiful when we condemn, call people names, and scare people about immigration. It’s an easy issue to frighten some of the electorate and I’m trying to have a different kind of voice.

KOTB: Well, okay, if you were to describe the Republican Party, as you see it today, how would you describe it?

BUSH: I would describe it as isolationist, protectionist, and to a certain extent, nativist.

KOTB: Are you disappointed?

BUSH: Well, it’s not exactly my vision, but you know, I’m just an old guy they put out to pasture, so. Just a simple painter.

KOTB: A simple painter. Okay, let me give you a hypothetical candidate for 2024, okay?  

BUSH: Okay.

KOTB: This hypothetical Republican is pro-immigration, pro-a path to citizenship for undocumented workers, and pro-DACA, pro-reasonable gun control and pro-education funding for public schools, does that person have a shot? Or that Republican – would that Republican have a shot in 2024?

BUSH: Sure, yeah.

KOTB: You think?

BUSH: I think so. I think that it depends upon the emphasis. I think if the emphasis is integrity and decency and trying to work to get problems solved, I think the person has a shot, yeah.

KOTB: It seems like you’ve –  

BUSH: By the way, I think “pro-immigration” isn’t the right way to put it. I think border enforcement with a compassionate touch.

KOTB: Oh, okay.

BUSH: That’s how I would put it.

KOTB: Alright, that’s a good –

BUSH: Because pro-immigration basically means, “Let’s just open up the borders.” And nobody’s really for that. And you can’t have a country that has open borders.

KOTB: Right. Now, I feel like you’ve made it a point not to criticize your predecessors.

BUSH: That’s true.

KOTB: Have you ever been tempted?

BUSH: I guess step one is have I ever been tempted to defend myself publicly? And the answer is no.

KOTB: No?

BUSH: Not really. I mean, look, I’m out. And no I haven’t – yeah, I guess I have been, sure.

KOTB: Anything you want to share?

BUSH: Anyone in particular? No, I think I’m fine. If I did, Michelle Obama might not be my friend.

(…)



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