George W. Bush: Kanye West Criticism Worst Moment of My Presidency
It's the moment we've all been waiting for: George W. Bush has finally come forward with what he considers the “most disgusting” moment of his presidency. And while one might expect this big reveal to involve virtually anything regarding the wars he began in Iraq and Afghanistan, the nation's worst natural disaster in history, or even 9/11, Bush's regrets are far more focused than such macro events. In an interview with NBC News' Matt Lauer airing Monday, November 8, Bush reveals that the moment that most shook him was when rapper Kanye West lashed out at him during a Hurricane Katrina telethon.
MATT LAUER: About a week after the storm hit NBC aired a telethon asking for help for the victims of Katrina. We had celebrities coming in to ask for money. And I remember it vividly because I hosted it. And at one part of the evening I introduced Kanye West. Were you watching?
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Nope.
MATT LAUER: You remember what he said?
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Yes, I do. He called me a racist.
MATT LAUER: Well, what he said, "George Bush doesn't care about black people."
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: That's -- "he's a racist." And I didn't appreciate it then. I don't appreciate it now. It's one thing to say, "I don't appreciate the way he's handled his business." It's another thing to say, "This man's a racist." I resent it, it's not true, and it was one of the most disgusting moments in my Presidency.
MATT LAUER: This from the book. "Five years later I can barely write those words without feeling disgust." You go on. "I faced a lot of criticism as President. I didn't like hearing people claim that I lied about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction or cut taxes to benefit the rich. But the suggestion that I was racist because of the response to Katrina represented an all time low."
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Yeah. I still feel that way as you read those words. I felt 'em when I heard 'em, felt 'em when I wrote 'em and I felt 'em when I'm listening to 'em.
MATT LAUER: You say you told Laura at the time it was the worst moment of your Presidency?
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Yes. My record was strong I felt when it came to race relations and giving people a chance. And-- it was a disgusting moment.
Now, there's no denying Kanye West is one of the most influential pop stars in the world, and that his remarks reflected what a lot of the country was thinking. But the fact that Bush singled that one moment of criticism out of eight long, disastrous years seems a bit... odd, to say the least. At least one thing is familiar: Bush's solipsism and lack of perspective is still intact. More strange revelations will surely emerge upon the release of Bush's memoir, out November 9.