Former President George W. Bush told The Dispatch podcast on Friday that if the Republican Party “stands for … White Anglo-Saxon Protestantism, then it’s not going to win anything.”
The Dispatch was launched in 2020 by Never Trump writers, including alumni of the now-defunct Weekly Standard. Bush was interviewed by Sarah Isgur, who served as the spokesperson for the Department of Justice under President Donald Trump, and former Weekly Standard editor-in-chief Steve Hayes.
Isgur asked Bush specifically about proposals to put “Anglo-Saxon traditions” into law, and asked Bush if he would ever reach a point where he would say he was not a Republican.
“No, I’d say there’s not going to be a party,” he said.
He later added: “The idea of kind of saying, you can only be a Republican if … the ultimate extension of that is that it ends up being a one-person party.”
“To me, that basically says we want to be extinct … If the Republican Party stands for exclusivity, you know, it used to be country clubs, now apparently it’s White Anglo-Saxon Protestantism, then it’s not going to win anything.”
The accusation stems from a report by NBC News that “hard-right Republicans” were “forming [a] new caucus to protect ‘Anglo-Saxon political traditions’.” That report was based on a report by Punchbowl News, which posted a policy platform for the “America First Caucus” that stated: “America is a nation with a border, and a culture, strengthened by a common respect for uniquely Anglo-Saxon political traditions.” Several Republicans later disavowed what they said was a draft.
Bush reiterated that his greatest disappointment as president was failing to pass comprehensive immigration reform, for which he blamed Democrats in Congress. He admitted that border security was important, but claimed that “reforming will make it easier to enforce the border.” For example, he said, making legal immigration easier would discourage illegal entry.
Last month, in an interview with NBC’s Today show, Bush accused his party of being “isolationist, protectionist and, to a certain extent, nativist.” Later, amid a media storm, the former president walked back his provocative comments, partially.
Bush appointed the first African American Secretaries of State, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice. In his election campaign, he also won more Latino support than any Republican candidate in modern history.
However, Bush faced accusations of racism from the left throughout his campaign for the presidency and the eight years of administration, including his decision to campaign at Bob Jones University, when that institution still had a run barring interracial dating, and his alleged neglect of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, supposedly because black people were the primary victims.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new e-book, We Told You So!: The First 100 Days of Joe Biden’s Radical Presidency. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.