George W. Bush doesn’t care about black people? It made for some damn good headlines, but whichever side of the political fence you sit on, it’s obviously not true.
Though that doesn’t mean he’s gonna join Kanye West‘s rainbow coalition anytime soon.
In a special prime-time interview with Matt Lauerset to air Nov. 8, the former president takes a look back at his 8 years in office. Guess which point he didn’t care for?
“He called me a racist,” Bush said of West’s ad lib during the Hurricane Katrina telethon.
“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 to say, ‘This man’s a racist.’ I resent it, it’s not true.”
During the interview, Lauer read a passage from Bush’s memoirs, Decision Points, which dealt with the sound bite heard round the world, writing, “Five years later I can barely write those words without feeling disgust.
“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.”
“Yeah,” Bush told Lauer of the passage. “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.”
Lauer decided to pull the former president up on his suggestion that Kanye’s undeniable low blow represented the nadir of his terms in office—that him simply being insulted by a pop star about his reaction to Hurricane Katrina was worse than dealing with the devastation the natural disaster caused, worse than the 9/11 attacks, standing under a rather ill-advised “Mission Accomplished” sign…you get the point.
“Don’t care,” Bush said. “No, and I also make it clear that the misery in Louisiana affected me deeply as well. There’s a lot of tough moments in the book. And it was a disgusting moment, pure and simple.”