During his presidency, adding that America is now “yearning” for his leadership.
Bush left office with an approval rating below 25 percent. Former President Obama was elected in 2008 campaigning against many of Bush’s policies, namely the Iraq War and the tax cuts implemented in his first term. Obama promised to move an immigration reform package into law but fell short.
“Let me say, President George W. Bush, I praised his father earlier, was a great president. President George W. Bush, 43, he was a great president on immigration. When we won the majority, I remember being in a meeting, an early meeting with the leadership, just a small meeting, the top leadership with President Bush and he said, now we can pass an immigration bill but he couldn’t persuade his party to come along and I think that was a disappointment to him and the more recent bipartisan bill was under President Obama but the House Republicans just wouldn’t just come along,” Pelosi said at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast in Washington, D.C.
“And let me say how different the attitude is of President Trump on immigration. The Republicans in Congress and the president criticized the executive orders of President Obama, whether it was DREAMers or some other protection for their parents and the rest, but President Reagan, before some of you were born, President Reagan with his executive orders protected a higher percentage of people than President Obama has done under his executive orders. President Obama acted when president — excuse me — when Congress would not act,” she added.
Pelosi continued, “President Obama said, ‘you haven’t acted.’ We did pass the DREAM Act in the House, but the Senate couldn’t get the 60 votes to pass it so it didn’t become law so President Obama did his executive order for the DREAMers and then their parents and the Republicans railed against it.”
Pelosi argued that President Bush’s “words and actions” are contrary to the 3 most recent Republican presidents.
“Yes I do see a path in terms of having comprehensive immigration reform, which is the answer to all of the challenges the president [Trump] defines – the challenges he sees.”
Pelosi said Congress should resurrect the 2013 immigration reform bill the Senate had passed.
“I’m hopeful and again as I said, President George W. Bush, we were closer to him in that attitude than his own party was. Even now President George W. Bush has spoken with great dignity about treating immigrants and the immigration issue – treating people with respect and dignity, bless him for that. Did you ever think we would see the day we would be yearning for the day for President George W. Bush to be president?” she said.
Pelosi criticized the Trump administration’s proposed cuts to domestic programs to pay for more defense spending.
“It’s hard to tell how complete his knowledge is of these subjects,” Pelosi said. “This is really a weakening of meeting our responsibilities.”
Pelosi repeated her call for an independent commission to investigate possible ties between Russian officials and the Trump campaign.
“We still need an outside commission,” she told reporters.
Pelosi also revealed that she was planning on retiring if Hillary Clinton won the presidential election.
“If Hillary had won, I was ready to go home,” Pelosi said. “I would have been gone by now, if she would have won.”
In response to Trump’s outreach to Congress, Pelosi said, “I find the charm offensive, offensive.”
“If he’s in a deal-making mode, does that mean bowling at the White House in return for support for legislation? I find the charm offensive, offensive. I really do. I think he’s making fools of his own people frankly,” she said. “You don’t agree philosophically with what the legislation is? Let’s go bowling at the White House, OK? Come on. The president of the United States is the most powerful person in the world. What does he know to be able to make a difference in what we can talk about?”
Pelosi indicated that she does see a potential opportunity for negotiation with Trump in infrastructure
“We have seen no jobs bill, no infrastructure initiative, we have seen no initiative on renegotiation of NAFTA, three of the things he has said – reminding you President Obama, four weeks into his term, he had already signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which created or saved 4 million jobs. He is way behind in terms of any legislation to create jobs, which he promised,” she said.