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Former President George W. Bush described the modern GOP as “isolationist, protectionist and to some extent nativist” in an interview on Tuesday that was filled with implicit criticism of the last Republican president.

“It’s not exactly my vision” for the party, Bush told NBC’s “Today” show in a rare live television appearance. “But, you know, I’m just an old man that they put out to pasture.

Still, Bush was hopeful that a more moderate Republican – a Republican who supported reasonable gun reform measures, increased funding for public schools, and a path to citizenship for undocumented workers, among other measures – could succeed. the party’s presidential primary in 2024.

“I think if the emphasis is on integrity and decency and you try to work to solve the problems, I think the person has a chance,” he said.

Bush, who was on hand to welcome 30 new American citizens from 17 different countries at a naturalization ceremony on Rockefeller Plaza, also denounced the divisive rhetoric that has surrounded the immigration debate in Washington – and reached out to new levels of hostility under former President Donald Trump.

“It’s a beautiful country that we have. And yet, it’s not beautiful when we condemn [and] calling people names and scaring people about immigration, ”he said. “It is easy to frighten part of the electorate. And I’m trying to get a different kind of voice.

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