George W. Bush’s Coronavirus Video Has Critics Nostalgic

(Bloomberg) -- Former President George W. Bush says Americans should come together as one to confront the coronavirus pandemic that has claimed the lives of over 66,000 in the country so far.

In a video released on Saturday, the 43rd U.S. president said, “We are not partisan combatants. We’re human beings, equally vulnerable and equally wonderful in the sight of God.”

Bush’s presidential center posted the message on Twitter, tagging @TheCallToUnite, a livestream for celebrities and public figures to post encouraging videos during the pandemic.

It got the Republican, who left office in January 2009 and typically keeps a low profile, trending on the social media site, where the video had been viewed 5 million times by midday Sunday.

His comments come as Republicans and Democrats spar over the nation’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Even some of Bush’s critics -- and many remain hostile, particularly because of the war in Iraq -- praised the message of unity.

One person unimpressed by the message was President Donald Trump, who tweeted early Sunday that Bush “was nowhere to be found in speaking up against the greatest Hoax in American history,” referring to his impeachment.

In the roughly three-minute video, Bush speaks over images of Americans in a variety of settings, starting in black-and-white and then switching to color. “We cannot allow physical separation to become emotional isolation,” he says.

“This requires us to not only be compassionate but creative in our outreach,” he said. “Let us remember that empathy and simple kindness are essential, powerful tools of national recovery.”

Bush added that the suffering experienced by the nation “does not fall evenly.” It was important to care “in practical ways,” for the elderly, the ill and the unemployed, said Bush.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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