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Monday, February 27, 2017

Leadership and the Free Press - First Amendment is essential

"It's kind of hard to tell others to have an independent, free press and we're not willing to have one ourself," said Bush.

Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief's Tribute to America's Warriors
Former President Bush was speaking on the NBC Today Show to support the publication of his book "Portraits of Courage", in an interview with Matt Lauer.

Donald Trump is so thin skinned, he lost his ability to be objective about his responsibility to accept the Free Press in support of American Democracy. In fact, Trump calls the news he disagrees with "fake-news" and declared war on the media as being an enemy of the people. Donald Trump's obsession with criticizing the media is, frankly, against the law. It's doubtful he ever read the First Amendment in the US Constitution, that requires "Free Speech". President George Bush '43 agrees with the Constitution. So does Admiral William H. McRaven, the Chancellor of the University of Texas system as does Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona.

It's past the time for Donald Trump to uphold what he swore to do on January 20, 2017, when he placed his right hand on a Bible and swore to uphold his oath of office. In fact, Trump should be leading the argument for Free Speech rather than creating unnecessary controversy about the basic tenet of democracy.  

Former President Bush said he spent a great amount of time trying to convince people, like Russian President Vladimir Putin, to accept the notion of an independent press, but Trump's adversarial relationship is making the message a difficult one for the United States to deliver.

"It's kind of hard to tell others to have an independent, free press and we're not willing to have one ourself," said Bush.

Bush took office in 2001 after a controversial election that ended up being decided by the Supreme Court, and during a time when the nation was also divided, but on Monday he said it is hard to compare what was going on then with what's happening now.

"One thing is for certain, the job is a tough job," said Bush. "Everybody looks at the presidency when they campaign one way, then, they get in office and find out there's a reality to the job." Former President George W. Bush faced his share of criticism from the media during his time in office, but he said Monday that unlike President Donald Trump, he considered the media "to be indispensable to Democracy," and not as an enemy of the American people.

"We need an independent media to hold people like me to account," Bush said during an interview with NBC's "Today" anchor Matt Lauer.

"I mean, power can be very addictive, and it can be corrosive. And it's important for the media to call to account people who abuse their power. Whether it be here or elsewhere."

Bush said when he got out of college, the nation was "really divided," and it "requires a lot of people coming together to try to make us united."

Meanwhile, Trump has only been in office shortly over a month, and Bush said he thinks Americans need to take Trump for his word, that he wants to unify the nation.

"We'll see if he's able to do so," said Bush. "It's hard to unify the country with the news media being so split up. When I was president, you mattered a lot more because there were three of you. And now, there's all kinds of information being bombarded out, and people can say things anonymously. And it's just a different world."
(MaineWriter- Dear Mr. Bush, it isn't the media or the "anonymous sources" that gave the "free press" the label of "fake-news".)

Bush also spoke out about Trump's travel ban from seven Middle Eastern countries, saying that he does believe that it's important for people to be able to worship freely.

However, it's "hard to fight the war on terrorism if we're in retreat, and I think we learned that lesson," said Bush.

"If the United States decides to pull out before a free society emerges, it's going to be hard to defeat them," said Bush. 

"The enemy is very good about exploiting weakness. It's going to be important. If that's the goal, to defeat ISIS, which I believe it should be, that we project strength."

But Bush wouldn't say specifically if he's for or against the travel ban. "I'm for an immigration policy that's welcoming and upholds the law," said the former president. (Maine Writer: In other words, the travel ban as proposed against 7 mostly Muslim nations was decided to be illegal, as ruled by two courts.

So, in terms of Donald Trump versus the First Amendment of the Constitution, the experts have spoken. Creating "fake-news" is, frankly, a terrible, not to mention, also illegal, way for any American president to lead a Democracy.

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