- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Both former Presidents Bush issued a joint statement Wednesday saying the country must reject bigotry in the wake of this weekend’s clash in Virginia, making rare forays back into politics.

“America must always reject racial bigotry, anti-Semitism, and hatred in all forms. As we pray for Charlottesville, we are reminded of the fundamental truths recorded by that city’s most prominent citizen in the Declaration of Independence: we are all created equal and endowed by our Creator with unalienable rights,” the two former presidents said. “We know these truths to be everlasting because we have seen the decency and greatness of our country.”

They did not mention President Trump by name, but the statement comes days into the current president’s struggles to address the clashes between racist protesters and counter-protesters, and the car attack that left one woman dead.

President George H.W. Bush served from 1989 to 1993, while his son, President George W. Bush, served from 2001 to 2009. Jeb Bush, the son and brother of the presidents, ran against Mr. Trump in last year’s GOP presidential primary.

Bushes have generally stayed away from political activity in their retirements, leaving their successors room to operate.

Their new statement, though, is the latest in a line of Republicans taking pains to put distance between the GOP and extreme elements such as neo-Nazis and white nationalists.

Mr. Trump on Saturday said “many sides” deserved blame for the violence, then specifically criticized neo-Nazis and white nationalists Monday, before again blaming both sides in a press conference Tuesday. He said there were “very fine people” on both sides of the Charlottesville debate, just as there were “troublemakers.”

He said neo-Nazis and white nationalists should be “condemned totally.”

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