Former US President Bush warns Trump over media bashing

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WASHINGTON, Feb. 28 (APP): While former US President George
W. Bush has mostly kept himself away from the country’s current
politics, he warned President Trump over his media bashing in
an interview this week and said that press was vital to democracy.
President Trump’ ties with media had been tense since his
campaign days but his recent comments in which he called the media
‘enemy of the people’ raised many eyebrows and showed the growing
level of animosity between him and the press.
Last week, Trump’s press secretary disallowed some
leading media outlets, including CNN and the New York Times,
from attending an off-camera briefing, and President himself
announced that he will not attend the annual White
House correspondents’ dinner to be held in April.
In an interview with NBC News, Bush said media was
essential for democracy and denouncing an independent
media at home will make it difficult for the US to preach
democratic values abroad. “Power can be very addictive and it can be corrosive and it’s important for the media to call to account
people who abuse power, whether it be here or elsewhere,” he
added. “It’s kind of hard to tell others to have an independent
free press when we’re not willing to have one ourselves.”
Responding to a question about the controversy over
Trump campaign officials’ alleged contact with Russian officials
in the elections, Bush said ‘we all need answers.’
He, however, did not support the idea of appointing
an independent prosecutor to probe the issue, saying that Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr could handle the inquiry.
Bush also refused to endorse Trump’s travel ban on citizens
from seven Muslim countries which has drawn widespread criticism
and has been challenged by several State courts. That ban order
has been stayed.
Trump has said the ban was aimed at countering terrorism, but
Bush said that terror threat was not a religious war but an
ideological one. “I think it’s very important for all of us to
recognize one of our great strengths is for people to be able to
worship the way they want to or to not worship at all….A bedrock
of our freedom is the right to worship freely.”