USA Today reports that George W. Bush addressed the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election on Thursday while he was at a conference in Abu Dhabi.
George W. Bush said there is “pretty clear evidence that the Russians meddled” in the election, which puts him at odds with the current president and most of their party.
Bush also said:
“Whether [Russia] affected the outcome is another question. It’s problematic that a foreign nation is involved in our election system. Our democracy is only as good as people trust the results.”
On the subject of Russian President Vladimir Putin in particular, whom U.S. intelligence agencies suspect had total knowledge of and directed the 2016 meddling campaign, George W. Bush said:
“He can’t think, ‘How can we both win?’ He only thinks, ‘How do I win, you lose? He’s got a chip on his shoulder. The reason he does is because … the demise of the Soviet Union troubles him. Therefore, much of his moves are to regain Soviet hegemony. That’s why NATO is very important.”
During Trump’s presidential campaign, he said that he would look at pulling the United States out NATO altogether, because it is “obsolete” and “is costing us a fortune.”
In May 2017, Trump lectured NATO allies by telling them that they weren’t paying enough, saying, “I have been very very direct with secretary Stoltenberg and members of the alliance in saying Nato members must finally contribute their fair share and meet their financial obligations…. but 23 of the 28 member nations are still not paying what they should be paying and what they are supposed to be paying for their defense.”
It was one of many moments during Trump’s first year in office in which folks paused and wondered whether anybody in his entire cabinet has a cursory grasp on diplomacy. So far, there is still no evidence of such of such a person.
Who would have imagined there would come a day when we would juxtapose George W. Bush against any other president and find him wise by comparison?