In an extraordinary — albeit veiled — attack, former President George W. Bush delivered a scathing assessment Thursday of President Trump and his policies, suggesting he has promoted bigotry and falsehoods to the detriment of the country and its values.
Speaking at a policy seminar in New York, the nation’s 43rd president never mentioned Trump by name. But his target was unmistakable.
“We have seen our discourse degraded by casual cruelty,” Bush said. “We’ve seen nationalism distorted into nativism.”
President Trump met with Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet L. Yellen at the White House on Thursday as he neared a decision on who will lead the central bank after her first four-year term ends in February.
Yellen, 71, a Democrat nominated to the job by former President Obama, is one of five candidates and was the last to meet with Trump, a White House official said.
Trump told reporters this week he was nearing a decision on a job that could have a major influence on his efforts to boost economic growth by reshaping the world’s most powerful central bank.
White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly on Thursday gave an emotional defense of Trump's calls to the families of soldiers killed earlier this month in Niger, and assailed a Democratic congresswoman who was among the president's chief critics.
Kelly said he was “stunned” and “broken hearted” to see a member of Congress, Rep. Frederica S. Wilson of Florida, describing Trump's conversation with the widow of Stg. La David T. Johnson, one of four U.S. soldiers who died in an Oct. 4 ambush in the West Africa country.
Wilson, a friend and mentor to the Johnson family, was with Myeshia Johnson in a car when the widow took Trump's call, and heard him on a speakerphone. Wilson later described Trump's message as insensitive for suggesting the sergeant knew what he was getting into when he joined the Army.
Despite President Trump's mixed messages, key senators unveiled their bipartisan plan Thursday to stabilize health insurance markets, drawing widespread support.
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Health committee, and the top Democrat on the panel, and Sen. Patty Murray of Washington jointly announced 22 bipartisan co-sponsors to their effort, more than typical for a bill.
Alexander noted that Trump, too, continued to encourage him to push forward. The president called the senator twice Wednesday, even after speaking critically of the plan.
Former President George W. Bush on Thursday delivered a scathing warning about Donald Trump, saying his “America first” philosophy portends a dangerous inward turn that is eroding democracy at home and threatening stability around the world.
“The health of the democratic spirit is at issue,” the 43rd president said during a speech in New York. “And the renewal of that spirit is the urgent task at hand.”
“Since World War II, America has encouraged and benefited from the global advance of the free markets, from the strength of democratic alliance and from the advance of free societies,” Bush said.
Senate Democrats on Thursday failed in their first attempt to save the state and local tax deduction, which helps many residents of California and other high-cost states reduce their federal income tax bills.
The Republican-controlled Senate voted 52-47 to reject an amendment that would have prevented the Senate from considering any bill that repeals or limits the deduction as part of a planned tax overhaul.
But the fight over the break, which the Republican tax plan would scrap, is far from over as legislative efforts in Congress are just beginning.