George w. bush doesn’t like Donald Trump. He doesn’t like how Trump is behaving as president. He clearly doesn’t like the division in the country Trump has fostered. He knows American democracy is under threat. He has tried to be reassuring, telling people that America has survived rough times before—a way of using insistent optimism to diplomatically acknowledge the rough time the nation is going through now.
With less than three weeks until the election, Bush—as the only living former Republican president—would be in a position to stand up for American democracy if Trump loses but refuses to concede, as he has threatened to do.
But if Bush is planning on doing anything about Trump, or considering some way to stand together with the other former presidents to protect democracy, that would be news to the offices of those former presidents. They haven’t heard from him.
Joe Biden’s campaign looked into whether Bush would consider endorsing him but was told he wouldn’t be getting involved. If Biden wins and Trump refuses to concede, though, the Democrat would likely lean on Bush to speak up, a person familiar with the campaign’s thinking told me. I asked the Trump campaign if the president would want Bush’s endorsement. My email was ignored.