By Rebecca Savransky
Former President George W. Bush said Monday he is in favor of an immigration policy that is “welcoming” and follows the law.
During an interview that aired Monday on NBC’s “Today” show, Bush was asked about whether he was in support of or against President Trumps order barring refugees and people from seven predominately Muslim countries from entering the U.S.
“I am for an immigration policy that’s welcoming and that upholds the law,” Bush said during the interview.
A federal judge in Seattle temporarily blocked the president’s travel ban. A San Francisco-based appeals court then rejected the administration’s request earlier this month to lift a nationwide hold on the initial travel ban.
The Trump administration has said it plans to release a revised immigration ban.
Bush said during the interview he thinks it’s important to recognize that one of this country’s great strengths is for “people to be able to worship the way they want to or not worship at all.”
“A bedrock of our freedom is the right to worship freely,” he said during the interview.
“And I understood right off the bat that this was an ideological conflict and people who murder the innocent are not religious people. They want to advance an ideology.”
Bush added he thinks it’s hard to fight the war on terrorism if “we’re in retreat.”
“I think we learned that lesson, that if the United States decides to pull our before a free society emerges, it’s going to be hard to defeat them,” he said.
“The enemy is very good about exploiting weakness. It’s going to be very important, if that’s the goal, to defeat ISIS, which I believe it should be, that we project strength.”
Bush also noted it’s hard to bring a divided country together.
“I think you have to take the man for his word that he wants to unify the country,” he said, referring to Trump. “And we’ll see whether he’s able to do so.”