Laura Bush says every president faces unfair criticism
Former first lady Laura Bush says every president is unfairly criticized and it comes from both friends and foes.
She spoke to ABC’s “Good Morning America” from the Gulf Coast, where she is on a visit for the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Her husband, former President George W. Bush and his administration were sharply criticized for slow federal response to the disaster.
“The differences are huge now, five years later. Each time I came there was a little bit of improvement, but really now I think after five years things are starting to look great,” she said.
She was asked about writing in her book about the criticism her husband faced for flying over New Orleans after Katrina and not stopping, but said there was a purpose behind that.
“If Air Force One had landed in New Orleans that day, all of the assets that were actually being used to help people, the first responders, many of those first responders would be required to go to the airport even just from Air Force One landing. And he knew that and he didn’t want to use any of the assets that were being used in other ways to rescue people,” she said.
Laura Bush says her husband writes about it in his upcoming book as well — “that he realizes that that was a mistake, that it looked like he didn’t care.”
She was asked whether she felt the Obama family was now experiencing the criticism from all sides that her family had during their White House years.
“Well sadly I think it’s just a part of life for the president and the president’s family, and it’s too bad really, because it comes from every direction — from your friends and your foes and I think that’s too bad,” she said.
“But I am really proud of the way George handled it. I think he handled it in a very presidential way really, knowing that that’s part of it. And we did know that that was part of it because of course we’d been the children of a president ourselves and we’d seen President Bush, George’s dad, criticized in a way that we knew was unfair,” she said.
“So I wish, I hope, that Americans would just take a step back and a deep breath and realize that people who are serving in public office are truly that — servants.”
She will be visiting a school and will speak at a breakfast today.
Photo credit: Reuters/Lee Celano (Laura Bush tours small-scale Katrina Cottages in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, in 2007); Reuters/Mannie Garcia (View of flooding caused by Hurricane Katrina as seen from Air Force One during an overflight of New Orleans Aug. 31, 2005)