Bush Warns Against U.S. Nationalism Being Turned Into Nativism

Bush: We're 'forgetting the image of God we should see in each other'

Former President George W. Bush identified the dangers of U.S. nationalism being turned into nativism during a speech hosted by the George W. Bush Institute on Thursday.

Bush said it seemed at times argument turns into animosity in modern society, "forgetting the image of God we should see in each other."

Bush specifically warned against the United States going down an isolationist path with its foreign policy that could jeopardize security.

"We've seen nationalism distorted into nativism, forgotten the dynamism that immigration has always brought to America," Bush said. "We see a fading confidence in the value of free markets and international trade, forgetting that conflict, instability and poverty follow in the wake of protectionism."

The former president warned that going down such a path would lead the United States into greater danger as international partnerships are central to ensuring American security.

"We've seen the return of isolationist sentiments, forgetting that American security is directly threatened by the chaos and despair of distant places where threats such as terrorism, infectious disease, criminal gangs and drug trafficking tend to emerge," Bush said.

While the former president did not mention President Donald Trump by name, many recognized the nativist and isolationist principles as a direct reference to the ideas that drove Trump's presidential campaign. The Washington Post called the speech "George W. Bush’s unmistakable takedown of Trumpism — and Trump."

Bush ultimately said America must "recover its own identity," remember its values and come to a new consensus.