Bush on immigrants: 'We ought to say thank you and welcome them'

Ex-US president George Bush says there is ‘clear evidence’ Russia interfered in the 2016 election

Former US President George Bush | Brendan McDermid Reuters

Bush has thrown his two cents into the discussion over the ongoing Russian Federation probe, stating "there's pretty clear evidence that Russian Federation meddled" in the 2016 US election.

While Bush said he didn't know whether Russian meddling actually affected the outcome of the election, he was still troubled by the damage that such meddling can do to American democracy. "Our democracy is only as good as people trust the results".

The former United States president also called Russian President Vladimir Putin a "brilliant tactician". "He said he absolutely did not meddle in our election".

Last October, he delivered a speech addressing nationalism and Russian aggression, countering points presented by Trump though never addressing the current president by name.

The Kremlin has repeatedly denied accusations by USA intelligence officials and others of interfering in foreign elections, including the 2016 US vote.

"He's resentful", Bush said of Putin. "He's got a chip on his shoulder.The reason he does is because the demise of Soviet Union troubles him. Therefore, much of his moves (are) to regain Soviet hegemony".

"There are people willing to do jobs that Americans won't do", he said.

And with allegations still swirling about President Trump's election campaign and Russian involvement, he added: "I would say he's [Putin] not a direct threat to the homeland except for the elections. We ought to say thank you and welcome them".

Bush speaks during a conference at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce June 23, 2017 in Washington, DC.

He also criticized Trump's decision to end an Obama-era program that allowed undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children to remain in the country and advocated for a permanent fix to keep them, according to the AP. He spoke Thursday at a summit in Abu Dhabi put on by the Milken Institute, an economic think tank based in California. Milken pleaded guilty to securities-law violations in 1990 and served 22 months in prison.

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