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George W. Bush says Capitol riots made him 'sick to his stomach'

George W. Bush
Posted at 5:24 AM, Mar 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-19 15:24:35-04

In a wide-ranging, virtual, pre-taped interview that aired at SXSW Thursday, former President George W. Bush described feeling “sick to his stomach” amid the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol and advocated for a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

In the interview, conducted by the Texas Tribune, Bush was asked his thoughts on the events of Jan. 6, when thousands of supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol in the hopes of stopping the certification of Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election.

Bush did not refer to Trump by name but said that the events of the day continue to disturb him.

“I was sick to my stomach to see our nation's Capitol being stormed by hostile forces," Bush told the Tribune. "And it really disturbed me to the point where I did put out a statement, and I'm still disturbed when I think about it."

"It undermines rule of law and the ability to express yourself in peaceful ways in the public square," he added. "This was an expression that was not peaceful."

In his statement, released two days after the riots, Bush called the incident a "sickening and heartbreaking sight."

"This is how election results are disputed in a banana republic — not our democratic republic," Bush's statement read.

In that same interview, USA Today reports that Bush was asked if he regards Biden as a legitimately-elected president. While he did say that believed, that like “all elections” there were “some kind of improprieties,” he added that "the results of this election, though, were confirmed when Joe Biden got inaugurated as president."

When asked directly if he thinks the election was stolen, Bush said, “no.”

Bush was also asked about the state of immigration in the U.S., as the Democratic-controlled Congress weighs two bills that would overhaul the system and offer citizenship to many — bills that face an uphill battle for passage in the Senate.

Breaking with many Republicans, the former president said during the interview that he believes undocumented immigrants should have a path to full citizenship.

"Rather than ignore the situation, we've got to address it, and I do believe there should be a path to citizenship," Bush said, according to CBS News.

The interview, which was taped on Feb. 24 but aired on Thursday, was conducted as Bush promotes his new book, "Out of Many, One: Portraits of America's Immigrants." The book will be released on April 20.