Former President George W. Bush paints portraits of immigrants to “change the tone” of the immigration debate

Exclusive: A friend of the former president George W. Bush He said the country needs a voice in the immigration debate. Instead, he presented his paintings – pictures and stories of 43 immigrants in an effort to change the “tone” of discourse 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: Portraits of Immigrants in America” ​​and why he picked up a paintbrush.

“It’s something I just came to,” Bush said. “I haven’t painted my whole life.” “I started drawing eight years ago, and I’ve been drawing ever since.”

He said, “I was busy, but it turned out that I was not satisfied.” I train, play some golf, make speeches, write some other books, and by chance someone gave me Winston Churchill’s essay, “Painting as a Hobby”, and as a fan of Churchill I was very interested in his paintings.

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Bush said that Churchill’s article “spoke of the joys of painting, and I said,” Maybe it satisfies my interests. ”

Het Book Of Many, One: Portraits of America’s Immigrants the President George W. Bush

He said, “So I said, ‘I’m going to draw, and I hired a coach and I chased him. “I took it very seriously – it’s something that you have to work on, and I love it. I’m learning a lot.

Bush told Fox News that he was drawing “without thinking about a project” when a friend said the country needed “his voice in the immigration debate.”

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Bush recalls, “I said, ‘Well, I’m not sure I wanted to get into politics, so he said,’ Okay, why don’t you attract immigrants. “And it was one of those times that was incredibly useful, and I thought, Wow, a great idea.”

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Bush painted and wrote the book in 2020, but he told Fox News that “the timing of the book has little to do with the current immigration debate.”

“In other words, it’s a coincidence in my opinion that immigration has become a hot issue,” Bush said. “But the purpose of this book was not to create a hot issue – 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 the dirty side of migration.”

"Beacon of hope," Painting of President George W. Bush.

A Beacon of Hope, a portrait of President George W. Bush.

Bush told Fox News that changing the rhetoric “begins with the assumption that we are all children of God and that every life counts.”

“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 welcome,” he said.

“I think you can be hospitable and insist on applying the limits,” Bush said. “And that’s really the point of the book.”

The first immigrant to attract Bush 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 on the Human Freedom Initiative.

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Bush said, “I’m incredibly impressed with his story.” Then I decided, well, if this immigrant needed a drawing, what about Paula, the woman who raised us, then went to work, and as soon as it became clear that the project was starting to take off, we decided to limit it to 43. ”

The Many, One is a collection of stories and 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 a NASA engineer who “ dreamed of coming to America as a girl in Nigeria. ” Along with other prominent business people, politics, sports and entertainment.

In the introduction, Bush wrote that he hoped the book “will draw our collective attention to the positive effects immigrants have on our country.”

The proceeds from the sale of the book are expected to benefit the organizations listed on the “Helping Immigrants establish themselves, as well as the Bush Institute” pages and its immigration work.

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Bush wrote that “a comprehensive solution to immigration 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 “indicates the composition of our country with many nations and multiple backgrounds.”

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“It is an indication of one of our greatest strengths – our unique ability to bring people from different backgrounds and cultures into one nation under God,” Bush wrote. “To forever remain a radiant 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.”

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