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George W. Bush: I don't like the racism, name-calling in Trump era

Former President George W. Bush arrives for the Donald Trump's presidential inauguration. Bush told People magazine in an interview that he is upset by the "racism" and "name-calling" in the country lately. (Getty Images/David Paul Morris)

While former President George W. Bush said he is "optimistic" about the future of the U.S., he offered a litany of issues he's concerned about under the current administration in a recent interview with People magazine.

"I don't like the racism, and I don't like the name-calling, and I don't like the people feeling alienated," Bush told People magazine. "Nobody likes that."

"On the other hand, we've been through these periods before, and we've always had a way to come out of it," the former Republican president continued. "I'm more optimistic than some."

When asked if he would play a leadership role in President Donald Trump's administration, Bush said he didn't "speak out" and "complicate the job" under former President Barack Obama, and he's not going to do that now.

"However, at the Bush Center, we are speaking up," he said.

People reported that Bush and his wife, Laura Bush, listed some of the projects the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Texas has tackled that might contrast with President Donald Trump's agenda, including women's reproductive health programs in Africa, leadership training for Muslim women the center brings to Texas from the Middle East and immigration ceremonies.

Regarding the Trump administration's travel ban on several Muslim-majority countries, Bush said the center would still "figure out how to bring" the people to the U.S. for its programs.

"There's a lot of ways to speak out," Bush said. "But it's really through actions defending the values important to Laura and me ... We're a blessed nation, and we ought to help others."

Bush on Monday told Today's Matt Lauer that Trump should be taken at his word that he wishes to unify the country.

"The job's a tough job. Everybody looks at the presidency when they campaign one way, and then they get in office and find out there's a reality to the job," he said.

But Bush also said that he "consider[s] the media to be indispensable to democracy" — a start contrast to Trump referring to the press as the "enemy of the American people."

"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.

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