Exclusive: A friend of the former president George W. Bush He said the country needs a voice in the immigration debate. Instead, he showcased his paintings – portraits and stories of 43 immigrants in an attempt to change the “tone” of rhetoric and focus on the “beauty” of migration.
In an exclusive interview with Fox News, the former president described the authorship of his new book “Of The Many, One: Photographs of Immigrants in America” and why he picked up a brush.
“It’s something that I just saw,” said Bush. “I haven’t painted my whole life.” “I started drawing eight years ago and have been drawing ever since.”
“I was busy, but it turned out that I was not satisfied,” he said. I practice, I play golf, I give speeches, I write other books and, by chance, someone gave me Winston Churchill’s essay, “Painting as a hobby,” j read, and as a fan of Churchill, I was very interested in his paintings.
Bush said Churchill’s article “was about the joys of painting, and I said,” Maybe that satisfies my interests. ”
He said, “And so I said, ‘I’m going to draw, and I hired a trainer and I chased him.” “I took it very seriously – it’s something to work on, and I like it. I learn a lot.
Bush told Fox News he was painting “without thinking of a project” when a friend said the country needed “his voice in the immigration debate.”
Bush recalls, “I said, well, I’m not sure I want to get into politics, so he said, ‘Okay, why don’t you attract immigrants. “And that was one of those times that was incredibly helpful, and I thought, wow, a great idea.” ”
Bush painted and wrote the book in 2020, but told Fox News that “the timing of the book has little to do with the current immigration debate.”
“In other words, it is a coincidence in my opinion that immigration has become a hot issue,” said Bush. “But the purpose of this book was not to create a burning question – the purpose of the book was to try to change the tone of the debate and get people to focus on the beauty of migration, not on the dirty side of migration. ”
Bush told Fox News that the change in narrative “begins with the assumption that we are all children of God and that every life is important.”
“Well, if that becomes the basis for solving a problem, it changes the tone of the speech, and the speech is less offensive and more welcoming,” he said.
“And I think you can be hospitable and insist on enforcing the limits,” said Bush. “And that is really the point of the book.”
The first immigrant Bush attracted was Joseph Kim, who grew up in North Korea, fled to China, and reached the United States. Kim now works at the Bush Institute as a Resident Expert for the Human Freedom Initiative.
“I am incredibly impressed with his story,” said Bush. And then I decided, well, if this immigrant needed a drawing, what about Paula, the woman who raised us, then went to work, and once it became clear as the project started to gain momentum, we decided to limit it to 43. ”
Of The Many, One is a collection of stories and oil paintings by President George W. Bush that highlight “the inspiring journeys of American immigrants and the contributions they make to the life and prosperity of our nation ”.
The book features photos and profiles of North Korean refugees fighting for human rights, the Dallas CEO who entered the United States from Mexico as a teenager, and the NASA engineer who “ dreamed of coming to America as a girl in Nigeria ”. with other prominent businessmen and from politics, sports and entertainment.
In the introduction, Bush wrote that he hopes the book “draws our collective attention to the positive effects immigrants have on our country.”
Proceeds from the sale of the book are expected to benefit the organizations listed in the Helping Immigrants Get Settled pages, as well as the Bush Institute and its work on immigration.
Bush wrote that “a comprehensive immigration solution deserves our serious attention, our philanthropic spirit, and our sober analysis.”
Also in the introduction, Bush refers to the words E Pluribus Unum, Latin for “Out of Many, One”, the title of the book and says that the slogan “refers to the composition of our country with many states and many horizons. ”
“This is a sign of one of our greatest strengths – our unique ability to bring people of different backgrounds and cultures into one nation under God,” Bush wrote. “To forever remain a shining city on a hill, a beacon of freedom, and the most hopeful society the world has ever seen, America just needs to remember that power.”