Former American President George W. Bush on Thursday blast Russia for alleged cyberattacks during the 2016 election, charging it was an effort to turn “Americans against each other” and “exploit our country’s divisions.” The ex-president urge America to “harden its own defenses” in the face of “external attacks on our democracy.”
Speaking in a forum in New York held by the organization that runs his presidential library, Bush said the Russian cyberattacks amounted to a “sustained attempt by a hostile power to feed and exploit our country’s divisions.”
“The Russian government has made a project of turning Americans against each other,” the former president said. “Our country must show resolve and resilience in the face of external attacks on our democracy and that begins with confronting a new era of cyber-threats
“People of every race, religion, ethnicity,” he said, are “equally American. Bigotry or white supremacy in any form is blasphemy against the American creed.”
“We’ve seen our discourse degraded by casual cruelty,” added Bush. “At times, it can seem like the forces pulling us apart are stronger than the forces binding us together.”
Bush did not mention President Donald Trump and a Bush spokesman told NBC News that the former president was not criticizing Trump. “These are the same themes President Bush has spoken on for the last two decades,” said the spokesman, Freddy Ford.
Bush, who has remained largely quiet throughout the first nine months of Trump’s presidency, also said that the “economic, political, and national security challenges” the U.S. faces “are made worse by the tendency to turn inward.”