Former President George W. Bush gave a speech Thursday that served as a lengthy critique of President Donald Trump, ending with a call for “American institutions to step up and provide cultural and moral leadership for this nation.”
Bush never mentioned Trump by name, but his speech, published in full by Politico, didn’t make it too hard to connect the dots — from condemning the foundation of Trump’s immigration agenda to calling the Russian attempt to interfere in American elections a serious threat to democracy.
Here are four moments from the speech that were particularly pointed:
1) Calling out “bigotry” and “conspiracy theories”
Trump got his start in politics by promoting the false conspiracy theory that President Obama was born in Kenya. He’s continued to spread baseless stories and rumors, including that Obama wiretapped Trump Tower during the election.
2) Standing up for “international trade” and against “nativism”
Trump’s administration has supported a reduction of legal immigration and has scorned international trade deals in favor of putting America first.
3) Criticizing a discourse of “casual cruelty”
This can be read as a critique of the political culture at large rather than just Trump, but the president has judged all Mexican and Central American immigrants based on the violent gang MS-13, mocked people with disabilities, and, this week, told the widow of a fallen American soldier that her husband “knew what he signed up for.”
4) Calling for action against Russian interference in the election
The reference to “downplaying” is a jab at Trump, who has frequently (although not consistently) denied that Russia interfered in the 2017 election at all, certainly not to help him, and, over the summer, announced a plan to cooperate with Russia to stop election hacking.