Former President George W. Bush published a rare public message on Saturday in the form of a three-minute video speech, during which he urges the public to come together, united as Americans, in the face of the coronavirus.
“This is a challenging and solemn time in the life of our nation and world,” said the former president. “A remorseless, invisible enemy threatens the elderly and vulnerable among us — a disease that can quickly take breath and life.”
While the phrase “invisible enemy” precedes the coronavirus crisis, President Donald Trump notably branded the coronavirus as “the invisible enemy,” remarking during a March press conference that together, as a country, we will “defeat the invisible enemy.”
In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens, I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 21, 2020
Later in Bush’s public message, the former president observes that we will need to come together to confront an epidemic of fear and loneliness, in addition to the harm the virus brings to “our sense of safety, security, and community.”
“The larger challenge we share is to confront an outbreak of fear and loneliness, and it is frustrating that many of the normal tools of compassion – a hug, a touch – can bring the opposite of the good we intend,” said Bush. “We cannot allow physical separation to become emotional isolation.”
Toward the end of the message, Bush speaks to several reminders that he believes will serve us well during our new time of national testing, including remarks about the resolve of the American spirit, and a call for each of us to find “practical ways” to care for those most in need.
“First, let us remember we have faced times of testing before. Following 9/11, I saw a great nation rise as one to honor the brave, to grieve with the grieving, and to embrace unavoidable new duties. And I have no doubt, none at all, that the spirit of service and sacrifice is alive and well in America,” said Bush.
“Let us remember that empathy and simple kindness are essential, powerful tools of national recovery,” he said. “Even at an appropriate social distance, we can find ways to be present in the lives of others, to ease their anxiety, and share their burdens.”
“Finally, let us remember how small our differences are in the face of this shared threat. In the final analysis, we are not partisan combatants, we are human beings, equally vulnerable and equally wonderful in the sight of God. We rise and fall together, and we are determined to rise,” said Bush.
The former president’s message comes as the coronavirus death toll reaches 65,000 Americans, and as unprecedented stay-at-home orders have pushed the number of recently unemployed Americans past 30 million.
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