Former Republican President George W. Bush has opened up on who he cast a ballot for in the 2020 presidential election.
Bush, who served as the 43rd president of the United States from 2001 to 2009, revealed in an interview for People that instead of voting for either Republican Donald Trump or his eventually successful Democratic rival – Joe Biden – he opted to pen in the name of Condoleeza Rice, who served as his secretary of state.
"She knows it. But she told me she would refuse to accept the office," he added.
Due to her extensive experience in government, Rice, who served as secretary of state under Bush from 2005 to 2009, had been mentioned as a feasible Republican candidate for president.
A fellow member of the Republican Party, Rice was also the first woman to serve as National Security Advisor.
Currently the Denning Professor in global business and the economy at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Rice had shown little interest in running as Donald Trump’s vice president pick during his 2016 campaign, according to Politico.
As Rice’s name had been floated as a possible vice presidential candidate, her chief of staff Georgia Godfrey was cited by the outlet as saying:
"Dr. Rice has repeatedly said in past cycles as well as this one, she’s not interested in being vice president. She’s happy at Stanford and plans to stay."
As for George W. Bush failing to vote for either Trump or Biden, the former POTUS has steered clear of talking about his successors much.
Donald Trump defeated his brother, Jeb Bush, in the Republican primary in 2016.
George W. Bush did voice condemnation of the disruption of a Constitutionally-mandated meeting of Congress during the 6 January riots at the US Capitol, in a statement for People.
The former president told the Today show's host in a Tuesday interview that he has been tempted to share his thoughts on his presidential successors.
"Yeah, I guess I have, sure," said Bush, however after the anchor asked him to be more specific, he parried:
"Anyone in particular? Nah, I think I'm fine. If I did, Michelle Obama might not be my friend."
‘Isolationists, Protectionists and Nativists’
As Bush spoke to PEOPLE to promote his new book of paintings, Out of Many, One, that offers an array of his portraits of American immigrants along with their stories, George W. Bush also clarified his earlier statements.
Thank you @BlueWillowBooks for a fabulous evening with our own and very charismatic President George W. Bush. It was inspiring to hear the stories behind each beautiful face in his new book “Out Of Many, One”. 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/dJRtIIoyZS— Kimberly Hare (@hare_kimberly3) April 21, 2021
Appearing on NBC’s “TODAY” show in his first live television interview in three years he had offered his concerns about the current state of the Republican Party.
Congrats to my friend and mentor, George W. Bush on his new book. It was great seeing you at @TheBushCenter forum last week, and I look forward to seeing more of your work in ‘Out Of Many, One.’ Great interview on the @TODAYshow this morning!https://t.co/u21BSIcvro pic.twitter.com/qiTYwKYoNF— Brandon Sawalich (@BrandonSawalich) April 20, 2021
"I would describe it as isolationist, protectionist and, to a certain extent, nativist."
As he clarified those comments to PEOPLE, George W. Bush said:
"Really what I should have said — there's loud voices who are isolationists, protectionists and nativists, something, by the way, I talked about when I was president."
"My concerns [are] about those -isms," he continued, "but I painted with too broad a brush ... because by saying what I said, it excluded a lot of Republicans who believe we can fix the problem."
According to Bush, the immigration challenges can begin to be “fixed” with the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, recipients of which are popularly known as "Dreamers."
Earlier this week, President George W. Bush and Mrs. @laurawbush joined the @TODAYshow and 30 new U.S. citizens for a very special naturalization ceremony on the @TODAYplaza. Take a look: #OutofManyOne https://t.co/1gDF1YqzEd pic.twitter.com/6ybPYqc8lp— George W. Bush Presidential Center (@TheBushCenter) April 22, 2021
The policy allows migrants brought to the US illegally as children to be granted a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and to become eligible for a work permit.
Bush said the US immigration system required reforms, adding that a more robust asylum process would be conducive, as would a process to expand work visas for jobs needing to be filled.