CORONAVIRUS

George W. Bush's coronavirus video has some critics nostalgic

Former President George W. Bush listens during the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, on M
Former President George W. Bush listens during the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, on May 3, 2017. (Bloomberg photo by Patrick T. Fallon)

NEW YORK — Former President George W. Bush says Americans should come together as one to confront the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 66,000 in the country so far.

In a video released on Saturday, he said, “We are not partisan combatants. We’re human beings, equally vulnerable and equally wonderful in the sight of God.”

Bush’s presidential center posted the message on Twitter, tagging TheCallToUnite, a livestream for celebrities and public figures to post encouraging videos during the pandemic.

It got the Republican, who left office in January 2009 and typically keeps a low profile, trending on the social media site, where the video has been viewed close to 5 million times.

His comments come as Republicans and Democrats spar over the nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Even some of Bush’s critics — and many remain hostile, particularly because of the war in Iraq — praised the message of unity.

In the roughly three-minute video, Bush speaks over images of Americans in a variety of settings, starting in black-and-white and then switching to color. “We cannot allow physical separation to become emotional isolation,” he says.

“This requires us to not only be compassionate but creative in our outreach,” he said. “Let us remember that empathy and simple kindness are essential, powerful tools of national recovery.”

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Bush added that the suffering experienced by the nation “does not fall evenly.” It was important to care “in practical ways,” for the elderly, the ill and the unemployed, said Bush.

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