Networks tee up George W. Bush to hit GOP but not Biden on immigration

Former President Bush calls border security ‘touchstone issue’ in interview with Dana Perino


Two network news interviewers failed to ask former President George W. Bush his direct thoughts on President Biden’s immigration policies while teeing him up to criticize modern Republican ones.

In spite of the ongoing border crisis that has dominated the early months of the Biden era, NBC’s Hoda Kotb and CBS’s Norah O’Donnell didn’t get his response to the Biden administration’s liberal policies, instead focusing on the Republican Party and his immigration position clash with former President Donald Trump.

“Why can’t we get this right?” Kotb asked about immigration in an interview airing Tuesday.

Bush said the system needed to be “reformed and fixed” and noted the border is “overwhelmed right now.”

Kotb also asked Bush how he would describe the modern Republican Party and whether he was “disappointed” in it.

“I would describe it as isolationist, protectionist, and, to a certain extent, nativist,” Bush said. While Bush told Kotb that the Democrats weren’t listening to him on immigration when he was president, these days Republicans “aren’t listening because of the politics.”

“It is not exactly my vision but I am just an old guy they put out to pasture,” he added.

There’s “a real shortage of manpower and focus down there,” Bush said at one point about the border. But Kotb did not follow up and ask whether Biden and his appointed border czar Vice President Kamala Harris are responsible for those lack of resources.

Kob did ask Bush whether he agreed with Biden’s decision to pull troops out of Afghanistan, to which he said, “we’ll see.”

Since being put in charge of the border, Harris has yet to hold a press conference to discuss her efforts, and the Biden administration denied the press access to holding facilities that were over capacity.


Bush’s conversation with O’Donnell took a similar turn. Biden was kept out of the conversation as they discussed the border, only hinting at Biden’s role when Bush referenced his series of executive orders overturning Trump’s immigration policies.

“It’s been 15 years,” O’Donnell said of illegal immigration. “Still nothing’s been done.”

“No, a lot of executive orders, but all that means is that Congress isn’t doing its job,” Bush said.


Critics say Biden’s rescinding of Trump policies that had been working are contributing to the crisis. The now-repealed “Remain in Mexico,” or Migrant Protection Protocols policy, some Republican lawmakers argue, kept holding facilities from becoming overwhelmed as it mandated migrants return to Mexico to await court hearings.

In March, Border Patrol made 172,331 apprehensions, including a record 18,890 unaccompanied children. But the Biden White House will not call the situation on the border a “crisis,” even pushing back when the president himself accidentally used the word.

“The president does not feel that children coming to our border seeking refuge from violence, economic hardships, and other dire circumstances is a crisis,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said during a press conference on Monday. 

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