The 43 rd chairwoman called for a welcoming immigration policy and underscored the importance of a free press during an interview with Matt Lauer on the Today depict.
I consider the media to be indispensable to democracy, Bush told Lauer. We require an independent media to hold people like me to account. Power is extremely addictive, and it can be corrosive.
Bush recalled spending time during his presidency attempting to convince other world leaders, specifically Russian President Vladimir Putin, to accept the notion of a free press.
Its kind of hard to tell others to have an independent free press if were not willing to have one ourselves, Bush said.
The former presidents remarks contrast profoundly with Trumps attacks on the media.Trump has taken an aggressive posture against the press since taking office, labeling the fourth estate the opposition party in January andthe enemy of the American people earlier this month.
Bush also called the right to worship freely a bedrock of our freedom and took a dig at Trumps January executive order on immigration, which sought to indefinitely ban Syrian refugees and temporarily block guests from seven Muslim-majority countries.
I understood right off the at-bat … that[ the executive order] was an ideological conflict, Bush told Lauer. I am for an immigration policy that is welcoming and upholds the law.
A federal magistrate in Washington statetemporarily halted the order nearly a week after it was signed. Less than a week afterward, a federal court ultimately denied the Trump administrations request to restore the order. The administration will not pursue an appeal to the Supreme court, but instead plans tocreate a new executive order.
Lauer also asked Bush about the FBIs current investigation into alleged ties between Trump associates and Russian officials during the 2016 presidential campaign.
I think we all need answers, Bush said. I have great faith in Richard Burr, for example. Hes the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee really good guy and an independent thinker. If he were to recommend a special attorney, then it would have a lot more credibility with me.
Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn was forced to resign as national security advisor earlier this month after the White House uncovered he had misled Vice President Mike Pence about conversations he had in December with a Russian ambassador. Three more Trump associates are also being investigated by the FBI for alleged links to the Kremlin during the campaign. Still, the Trump administration has repeatedly denied reports about the issue from The New York Times, The Washington Post and CNN.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story said a federal magistrate in New York temporarily halted President Donald Trumps immigration order nearly a week after it was signed. That judge was in Washington state.