Former President George W. Bush warned against allowing anger to shape policy, especially in instances where it could shut the United States off economically from the rest of the world.
“I understand anger, and some people may have been angry when I was president. But anger shouldn’t drive policy,” Bush said during an event at his presidential library Tuesday in Dallas, Texas, according to CNN. “What needs to drive policy is what’s best for the people who are angry.”
The Hill reported that Bush called the debate around free trade, which was spurred in large part by Trump’s populist candidacy, a choice between “a dynamic economy or a stagnant economy”.
“People say, ‘Oh and how can we possibly compete with an emerging economy like China, you know, we’re doomed,'” he said, according to The Hill. “I don’t know if you hear that in Mexico and China but occasionally you heard that in the United States.”
Bush never endorsed Trump after he won the Republican presidential nomination, and a spokesperson for him and former First Lady Laura Bush said the couple didn’t vote for a president on Election Day but did vote for Republicans down the ballot.
In Dallas on Tuesday, he bit his tongue.
“I don’t think it’s helpful for a former president to criticize successors,” he said, according to CNN. “It’s a hard job to begin with.”