Report: Bush fears "isolationism, nativism and protectionism"

George W. Bush is seen during the Opening Ceremony of the Invictus Games Orlando 2016 at ESPN Wide World of Sports on May 8, 2016 in Orlando, Florida.

Story highlights

  • Speaking at a fundraiser for Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, the former president seemed to go after Trump without naming him
  • This isn't the first time Bush has expressed anxiety about the GOP and the 2016 election

(CNN)Former President George W. Bush seemed to speak out against Donald Trump without mentioning him by name at a fundraising event Tuesday, warning against policies of "isolationism, nativism and protectionism" and urging the GOP to ensure that "everyone feels welcome"

As reported by the Wall Street Journal, Bush spoke at an event for Sen. Rob Portman in Cincinnati and participated in a 40-minute question-and-answer session following his remarks. Attendees suggested that although Bush avoided mentioning Trump, the target of his critique was apparent.
    Ken Blackwell, a former Ohio Secretary of State, told the Journal that "it was an interesting exercise of statecraft. No one could say he directly spoke in attack mode against Donald Trump. Neither could anybody miss the fact that he thought there were some cutting-edge issues that Trump is advancing that need to be scrutinized and debated."
    According to attendees, Bush talked about the idea "that Islamic women should come to the U.S. to experience a free society, so they can lead the charge for equality in the Middle East." He told attendees, "As long as everyone feels welcome, I think [the Republican Party] will succeed.
    He also said that "we're lucky, because we'll always have the presidency."
    Bush's comments at the Portman fundraiser aren't the first time he's said that he's worried about Trump and the Republican Party. According to a Politico report from last month, Bush expressed concern to some former aides and advisers that he could be "the last Republican president."