George W. Bush issues a call to unite against the 'invisible enemy'
George W. Bush urges American unity amid Trump’s clashes with Democrats over COVID-19 response in rousing video and decries ‘partisan combatants’ – reminding the US ‘we rise or fall together’
- Former US President George W. Bush sent a message to the American people that ‘we are human beings’ and ‘not partisan combatants’
- The video was released by the George W. Bush Presidential Center Saturday for the 24-hour Unite benefit
- Bush’s voice is heard while a montage of pictures show life as it was and now is
- He urges people to ‘remember how small our differences are’ and come together to fight the ‘invisible enemy’ and support one another during the crisis
- Bush goes on to remind Americans that the nation came through times of crisis after 9/11 – when he was president
- He calls for people to remember some groups – ‘the elderly, the ill and the unemployed’ – are being harder-hit by the pandemic than others
- The US death toll is 66,695 and 1,150,335 people have been infected
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
Former US President George W. Bush has issued a rousing call to Americans to unite during the coronavirus pandemic, while current President Donald Trump continues to lock horns with Democrats over the nation’s response.
Bush, whose own White House tenure saw the US ravaged by the September 11 terrorist attacks, sent a message to the American people that ‘we are human beings’ who ‘rise or fall together’ and are ‘not partisan combatants’.
In a video released by the George W. Bush Presidential Center Saturday for the 24-hour Unite benefit, he urges people to ‘remember how small our differences are’ and come together to fight the ‘invisible enemy’ and support one another during the crisis.
His call for unity comes as the US political parties are more divided than ever before with Trump battling with Democrat governors, senators and representatives on a near daily basis.
Former US President George W. Bush has issued a rousing call to Americans to unite during the coronavirus pandemic which has so far claimed the lives of almost 67,000 people nationwide
‘This is a challenging and solemn time in the life of our nation and world – a remorseless, invisible enemy threatens the elderly and vulnerable among us,’ Bush’s voice is heard saying against a video montage of various images of American life.
‘A disease that can quickly take breath and life. Medical professionals are risking their own health for the health of others, and we’re deeply grateful.
‘Officials at every level are setting out the requirements of public health that protect us all, and we all need to do our part.’
The footage starts with a reel of images showing the old normal – pictures of children smiling, brides on their wedding days, large celebrations such as the Chinese New Year, men in barber shops and people dancing together.
Bush admits that the current situation is one of ‘loneliness’ where ‘a hug, a touch – can bring the opposite of the good we intend’ as social distancing guidelines mean people cannot currently enjoy typical human interaction.
But, though it is ‘frustrating’, these measures are critical to protecting lives, he points out.
‘The disease also threatens broader damage, harm to our sense of safety, security and community. The larger challenge we share is to confront an outbreak of fear and loneliness,’ he says.
Bush at Ground Zero three days after the 9/11 terrorist attacks: In the video he reminds Americans that the nation has faced times of crisis before, when 2,977 people were killed in the attacks across New York City, Washington DC and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania
‘And it is frustrating that many of the normal tools of compassion – a hug, a touch – can bring the opposite of the good we intend. In this case, we serve our neighbor by separating from them.’
He is heard encouraging people to find new ways of connecting with each other.
‘We cannot allow physical separation to become emotional isolation. This requires us to be not only compassionate but creative in our outreach – and people across the nation are using the tools of technology and the cause of solidarity,’ he says.
Bush goes on to remind Americans that the nation has faced and come through times of crisis before, when 2,977 people were killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks across New York City, Washington DC and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
As president at the time of the attacks, Bush led the nation through its last great test.
His approval rating by the American public soared after 9/11 and the nation showed signs of unity.
People rallied behind the phrase ‘United We Stand’ and patriotism skyrocketed, polls taken in the aftermath revealed.
Bush reminds people of this time in the video as stills of him meeting emergency responders at Ground Zero after the attacks play across the audio.
‘In this time of testing, we need to remember a few things. First, let us remember that we have faced times of testing before. Following 9/11, we saw a great nation rise as one to honor the brave, to grieve with the grieving and to embrace unavoidable new duties. And I have no doubt – none at all – that this spirit of sacrifice is alive and well in America,’ he says.
Medical workers in New York battle the pandemic: Bush admits social distancing is ‘frustrating’ but these measures are critical to protecting lives
Images then turn to modern day, of people delivering food to the doors of elderly neighbors, sewing masks to protect people from the virus and food donations being handed out to Americans in need.
Bush calls for people to remember ’empathy’ and to be mindful that some groups – ‘the elderly, the ill, and the unemployed’ – are being harder-hit by the pandemic than others.
‘Second, let us remember that empathy and simple kindness are essential, powerful tools of national recovery. Even at an appropriate social distance, we can find ways to be present in the lives of others – to ease their anxiety and share their burdens,’ he said.
‘Third, let’s remember that the suffering we experience as a nation does not fall evenly. In the days to come, it will be especially important to care for the elderly, the ill, and the unemployed.’
‘Finally let us remember how small our differences are in the face of this shared threat.’
He added: ‘In the final analysis, we are not partisan combatants – we are human beings, equally vulnerable and equally wonderful in the sight of God. We rise or fall together and we are determined to rise. God bless you all.’
The former president’s calls for unity comes as the Republican Trump administration has been embroiled in ongoing clashes with Democrats over the US’s response to the pandemic.
Analysis released last week revealed the president had spent a total of two hours attacking the media and Democrats over the course of his daily coronavirus press briefings.
Studies from the Washington Post and the New York Times found the daily meetings have been used for the president to praise his own response to the pandemic and attack his rivals.
Outside of press briefings, Trump has almost-daily jibes with Democrats on social media.
He launched yet another spat Saturday – this one targeting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi because of her decision to reject the White House’s offer to provide Congress with rapid coronavirus testing.
The former president’s calls for unity comes as the President Trump has been embroiled in ongoing clashes with Democrats over the US’s response to the pandemic
‘No reason to turn it down, except politics. We have plenty of testing. Maybe you need a new Doctor over there,’ he blasted in a Twitter rant.
‘Crazy Nancy will use it as an excuse not to show up to work!’
His outburst came just days after he attacked her in another social media post where he accused her of canceling the House’s return because she is ‘enjoying [her] vacation’.
Pelosi said the House will not return due to COVID-19 health concerns.
This marks just one in a string of incidents where the president has picked fights with Democrat politicians during the pandemic.
In recent weeks, Trump has heaped praise on states with Republican governors for easing lockdowns and singled out states with Democrat governors that have maintained stay-at-home orders.
Many feel his approach has more of a political agenda than being in the best interests of tackling the pandemic as many anti-lockdown protesters who are pictured marching on state capitols up and down the country sport ‘Make America Great Again’ merchandise and wave Trump banners.
Thousands have taken to the streets across the US demanding an end to stay-at-home orders, saying they are taking away American liberty and destroying US jobs and the economy.
Several governors have relaxed restrictions, but many Americans are still angry with the lockdowns.
The mostly-Republican protesters have been met by Democratic counter-protesters who say the measures are critical to saving lives while the outbreak rages on.
While Trump has sparred with several Democrat govenors over the lockdowns, his most notable and long-running spat has perhaps been with New York’s Andrew Cuomo.
There’s been no love lost between the two throughout the crisis.
In mid-April, Trump claimed that he has blanket authority to order a reopening of the country and cease stay-at-home orders – a power that rests with individual states.
Cuomo blasted the president saying that the last time he checked the US had ‘a constitution…not a king’ and Trump was forced to backpedal on the claims.
The US continues to be the hardest-hit nation from the pandemic.
As of Saturday, 66,695 Americans have been killed by coronavirus and 1,150,335 people have been infected.
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