In a recent interview with Matt Lauer, former U.S. President George W. Bush responded to the controversial comments made by Kanye West in 2005 during a telethon to raise money for the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
"About a week after the storm hit NBC aired a telethon asking for help for the victims of Katrina," said Lauer. "We had celebrities coming in to ask for money. And I remember it vividly because I hosted it. And at one part of the evening I introduced Kanye West. Were you watching?"
"Nope," responded Bush in the interview. When Lauer asked whether the President remembered what Kanye said, Bush responded, "Yes, I do. He called me a racist."
"Well, what he said, 'George Bush doesn’t care about black people,'" clarified Lauer.
"That’s — 'he’s a racist,'" responded the former President. "And I didn’t appreciate it then. I don’t appreciate it now. 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."
The interview will air in its entirety Monday (Nov. 8). (November 2)
UPDATE: In an interview with Devi Dev of Houston's 97.9 "The Box," Kanye West reexamined his infamous, "George Bush doesn't care about black people" quote. After his interruption of Taylor Swift during the 2009 MTV VMA's, irate viewers took to various social media platforms to hurl racial slurs at West and suggested his actions were motivated by race. Having been in a similar situation, West explained how he now identifies with the former President Bush.
"I definitely can understand the way he feels to be accused of being a racist in any way," West said. "The same thing happened to me, where I got accused of being racist. With both situations it was basically a lack of compassion that America saw. With him, it was a lack of compassion because he didn't take the time to rush down to New Orleans. With me, it was a lack of compassion and cutting someone off during their moment. Nonetheless, I think we're all quick to pull a race card in America, and now I'm more open. The poetic justice that I feel for having went through the same thing that he went through really connects me more with him on a humanitarian level. That next morning when he felt that, I felt that too."
UPDATE #2: A week after West apologized, it appears the overhyped rift between he and former President Bush has ended. While speaking on a number of topics and events which spanned his eight-year presidency, Bush said he holds no ill will toward West.
“I’m not a hater,” he said. “I don’t hate Kanye West. I was talking about an environment in which people were willing to say things that hurt. Nobody wants to be called a racist if in your heart you believe in equality of races.”