Former President George W. Bush said in a recent NBC interview that the lowest point of his life was when rapper Kanye West made statements in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina that painted Bush as a racist.
West’s clearly agitated statement five years ago that “George Bush doesn’t care about Black people,” hit a sore spot with the then-president.
During the televised interview—in which Bush promoted his memoir, “Decision Points,” set for release during the week of Nov. 8—he said he didn’t deserve to be labeled as a racist.
“I didn’t appreciate it then. I don’t appreciate it now,” Bush told reporter Matt Lauer. “It’s one thing to say, ‘I don’t appreciate the way he’s handled his business.’ It’s another thing to say, ‘This man’s a racist.’ I resent it, it’s not true and it was one of the most disgusting moments in my presidency.”
Responding to Bush’s comments, West said he definitely understood what it was like to be accused of being a racist “because the same thing happened to me.” West was referring to criticism he garnered during a segment of the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards where he took the microphone from Taylor Swift, who had just won the award for best female video. West, apparently believing that Beyonce should have won, had shouted that the hit-making Black singer had been robbed.
“With both situations, it was basically a lack of compassion that America saw,” West reportedly said in a Nov. 3 interview with a hip-hop radio station in Houston.
“With him, it was a lack of compassion with him not rushing, him not taking the time to rush down to New Orleans,” West continued. “With me, it was lack of compassion for cutting someone off in their moment. I think we’re all quick to pull the race card in America.”
Nevertheless, according to popular columnist Earl Ofari Hutchinson, “The tragedy is that it took West’s racial dig at Bush over Katrina to shame him and the nation about the response” to the devastating hurricane.
In his book, Bush also sheds light on two of the most contentious times of his eight years as commander-in-chief: the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the country’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.