Chatting over fajitas at a reunion of former staffers, former U.S. President George W. Bush confessed at a secret meeting of top Republicans that he would be the last GOP president in history, according to a Politico Magazine report Tuesday. The comments were reportedly made to an inner circle of advisors and aides at the mid-April Dallas reunion.
"I’m worried that I will be the last Republican president," Bush told the group, according to Politico. The comment was so dark that some listeners were unsure if the remark was just an attempt at gallows humor. Attendees at the reported reunion, including Vice President Dick Cheney, snapped selfies and former First Lady Laura Bush.
Both Bush and his father, former President George H.W. Bush, opted not to attend this year's Republican National Convention, which is ongoing in Cleveland. Establishment figures such as Bush have expressed concern over the long-term effects Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, will have on the party. Trump is brash, divisive and has anchored his candidacy on proposals such as building a massive wall on the Mexican border and banning Muslims from entering the United States.
Politico noted that it spoke with 40 top GOP officials and wrote, "win or lose in November (and more expect to lose than not), they fear that Trump’s overheated and racialized rhetoric could irreparably poison the GOP brand among the fastest-growing demographic groups in America."
Bush has, generally speaking, drifted out of the public eye after serving as president. He left office some eight years ago with an approval rating of 22 percent but that has risen steadily with time's passing. Bush made a high-profile appearance in the public eye alongside current President Barack Obama at the memorial service for five police officers who were killed last week. Amid increased concerns over police killings and a deepening racial divide in the U.S. he made a plea for unity and understanding, saying, "too often, we judge other groups by their worst examples, while judging ourselves by our best intentions."