Former President George W. Bush questioned the political motives of lawmakers behind the immigration bill making its way through the U.S. Senate during an interview with the Huffington Post’s Jon Ward this week.
Bush suggested that some in Congress pushing the legislation may be more concerned with winning votes than truly resolving the nation’s immigration woes.
Ward described the former President’s mindset as a “desire not to criticize the GOP” but offering a “warning about the party’s mad dash for immigration reform.”
“I think the atmosphere, unlike when I tried it, is better, maybe for the wrong reason,” Bush told Ward. “The right reason is it’s important to reform a broken system. I’m not sure a right reason is that in so doing we win votes.
“I mean when you do the right thing, I think you win votes, as opposed to doing something that’s the right thing to win votes. Maybe there’s no difference there. It seems like there is to me though.”
When Ward asked Bush about Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ward noted that Bush has urged his brother former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush to run for president in 2016 and that the former president “didn’t have a lot to say about Rubio.”
“Rubio’s articulate. I met him once, maybe twice. My brother likes him, so I like him,” he said, according to Ward.
As the Washington Examiner‘s Joel Gehrke points out, Bush supports the principle of immigration reform and reiterated that support in his memoir Decision Points. “In 2006, I gave the first-ever primetime presidential address on immigration,” he wrote. “‘We’re a nation of laws, and we must enforce our laws,’ I said. ‘We’re also a nation of immigrants, and we must uphold that tradition, which has strengthened our country in so many ways.'”
In response to these comments, former Bush White House press secretary Dana Perino, now a co-host of Fox News’ The Five, told Breitbart News that Bush “long ago was for immigration reform and he put a stake in the sand in 2007.”
“Sometimes debates take a long time to air themselves out – that’s happening now and there’s a long way from this bill to a signed law,” Perino said in an email.