- Kim Hjelmgaard USA TODAY
Former President George W. Bush appeared to take aim at President Trump on Thursday when he said at an economic summit in the Middle East that there was "pretty clear evidence that the Russians meddled" in the 2016 U.S. president election.
Bush made the comments in a talk in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. He was appearing there as part of a conference put on by the Milken Institute, a think tank based in Santa Monica, California.
While Bush did not directly name Trump, his comments did appear to target him. Trump has consistently disputed allegations of Russian interference in the election or that members of his campaign team in any way "colluded" with Moscow.
"Whether (Russia) affected the outcome is another question," Bush added.
"It’s problematic that a foreign nation is involved in our election system. Our democracy is only as good as people trust the results," he said.
Intelligence agencies have concluded Russia did meddle in the election and numerous investigations are under way to determine whether Trump’s campaign aided the Kremlin.
Bush also said the U.S. needs to reform its immigration law and described Russian President Vladimir Putin as "zero-sum." Bush said of the Russian leader: "He can’t think, ‘How can we both win?’ He only thinks, ‘How do I win, you lose?’”
Bush said of Putin: "He’s got a chip on his shoulder. The reason he does is because of the demise of the Soviet Union troubles him. Therefore, much of his moves (are) to regain Soviet hegemony ... That’s why NATO is very important."
This is not the first time Bush has spoken publicly about alleged Russian interference in the election. In address in New York last year he said of the 2016 vote: "The Russian government has made a project of turning Americans against each other."