Democrats are embracing George W Bush, so you know America is in a weird place

Democrats are embracing George W Bush, so you know America is in a weird place

Democrats are embracing George W Bush, so you know America is in a weird place

Updated 20 October 2017, 20:45 AEDT

You know America is in a weird place when Democrats are on board with the views of former foe George W Bush, writes ABC Washington bureau chief Zoe Daniel.

You know America is in a weird place when Democrats are embracing George W Bush.

Yes, that is a thing after 43 gave 45 a serve in this scathing speech — that didn't mention Donald Trump by name — but didn't need to:

"Bigotry seems emboldened. Our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication," Mr Bush said at the Bush Institute's Spirit of Liberty event in New York.

He said it was those charged with protecting democracy — and not democracy itself — to blame for the demise of said democracy.

"Our identity as a nation — unlike many other nations — is not determined by geography or ethnicity, by soil or blood," he said.

"We become the heirs of Thomas Jefferson by accepting the ideal of human dignity found in the Declaration of Independence. We become the heirs of James Madison by understanding the genius and values of the US Constitution. We become the heirs of Martin Luther King Jr. by recognising one another not by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character."

"This means that people of every race, religion and ethnicity can be fully and equally American. It means that bigotry or white supremacy in any form is blasphemy against the American creed."

Considering where things are at in America right now, it's pointed.

The entire speech is worth taking a look at. You can read the full transcript here.

It upstaged one delivered earlier this week by fellow Republican, John McCain, who also had some choice words for the President:

If anything represents how politics — and, in particular, the Republican Party — has changed over the past decade, this is it.

While no revisionist historian can deny the failings of George W Bush, he was a true conservative, and one who displayed respect and humility for the Oval Office.

Mr Trump is not a classic Republican in any sense of the word, and continues to upend presidential protocol daily.

On that theme, more Republicans continue to throw in the towel on Capitol Hill.

According to the New York Times, senior Republican Pat Tiberi, who is close to Republican leadership, is giving up public service for a job in the private sector. He's the latest on a growing list of Republicans who either see the writing on the wall or can't deal with the current chaos of Washington.

And in a death knock to irony, former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon will be the keynote speaker at the Macomb County Republican "unity dinner" next month. Remember: Bannon is engaging in a full-scale political war as he tries to take down establishment Republicans ahead of the 2018 mid-terms. (Note: in this revealing Vanity Fair piece, a source told reporter Gabriel Sherman that Mr Bannon only thinks Mr Trump has a 30 per cent chance of winning the 2020 election. That said, he's only ever had the support of about one-third of the voters and we all know how that panned out last year.)

Remember how much Donald Trump loves the military?

Well, finally, 12 days after four Americans were killed in Niger, the President called the widow of Sergeant La David T. Johnson to offer his condolences for her loss.

Democratic Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson was present at the time of the call and said President Trump told the widow that her husband "knew what he signed up for", causing a media and political frenzy over what he should (or shouldn't) have said.

Here's the long version of her story:

The White House accused Congresswoman Wilson of politicising a sacred ritual. Mr Trump denied it on Twitter:

The family confirmed it.

And then Mr Trump spoke out:

It's messy, and sad. Remember four young, dead men and their families are at the centre of this.

White House chief of staff John F. Kelly has taken the unusual step of briefing the press about the procedures that authorities go through before speaking to bereaved families, and the conversation he had with the President before he made such a difficult series of phone calls. It's not easy stuff.

"I was stunned and broken hearted," General Kelly said at the White House briefing on Thursday, in reference to Congresswoman Wilson revealing what was said during the phone call.

General Kelly, whose 29-year-old son First Lieutenant Robert Kelly was killed when he stepped on a landmine while serving in Afghanistan in 2010, was so upset that he went for a walk in Arlington Cemetery.

"I went over there for an hour and a half and walked among the stones, some of whom I put there because they were doing what I told them to do when they were killed," he said.

He said the deaths of American servicemen and women should be kept separate from politics.

"Let's try to somehow keep that sacred."

The President also continues his war on the NFL after the league commissioner announced that, while he thinks players should stand for the national anthem, athletes would not be compelled to do so.

The President's reply was predictable:

Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan says Mr Trump must be "jealous", surmising that his anger is in part because Mr Trump has never been able to purchase an NFL team.

Right.

In other news this week…

Prototypes of the Mexican border wall have sprung up near San Diego:

Here's the weirdest lede of the week, courtesy of CNN:

"A man dressed as the Pokémon character Pikachu attempted to infiltrate the White House Tuesday morning before he was caught by Secret Service officers manning the perimeter, authorities said."

And the prize for the week's weirdest headline goes to the New York Times:

"Ted Cruz, Who Is Not the Zodiac Killer, Acknowledges a Long-Running Joke"

Oh, and caught in another furphy, here's how Mr Trump responded when pressed about why he misrepresents the US tax rate…

In Russia related news…

There's intrigue over the sale of a uranium mining company to Russia's atomic energy agency, which was approved by the State Department under Hillary Clinton (along with eight other government departments). The possibility of corruption has been raised after it was revealed that before the sale the FBI had been investigating a Russian scheme to grow its influence in the US nuclear sector through corrupt business practices.

The Washington Post breaks it down here.

Roy Moore, the anti-establishment Republican candidate who is vying to replace Attorney-General Jeff Sessions in his former Senate seat in Alabama, is seeing a lot of support pouring in — recent polling shows Mr Moore neck-and-neck with Democratic contender Doug Jones.

Notably, Mr Moore has also seen a huge spike in social media followers:

Hmm...

By the numbers

46% - That's the percentage of American voters who think the media makes up news stories about President Trump, according to a new Politico/Morning Consult poll.

Further, 76% of all Republican voters think that is the case.

Sowing distrust in the media is a favourite hobby of the Trump Administration. Not just in tweets from the President like .

The Trump Campaign also sent out this "media accountability" survey to supporters this week:

What I'm reading:

Finally, if you think this year has been crazy, spare a thought for Canadian Joshua Boyle, who was released last week after being held in captivity by the Taliban for five years.

His captors told him Donald Trump was elected President. He thought they were kidding.

That's 2017 in a nutshell.