"Bigotry seems emboldened. Our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication", he said in a 16-minute address at the George W. Bush Institute in Dallas, which was covered live by national cable news networks. "Argument turns too easily into animosity", Bush said. Though globalization has had negative side effects for some, Bush said that greater integration with the world was inevitable.
Bush deplored the country's political divisiveness, saying that "at times it can seem like the forces pulling us apart are stronger than the forces binding us together", he said.
He said that while it was important not to ignore the concerns of people whose jobs may have been lost to global economic forces, "we can not wish globalisation away". "Disagreement escalates into dehumanization", he continued.
"The health of the democratic spirit itself is at issue, and the renewal of that spirit is the urgent task at hand", Bush told a meeting of the Bush Institute on Thursday in NY.More news: Antonio Conte hails Chelsea's spirit, commitment in Watford win
"We've seen nationalism distorted into nativism", Bush said, warning that "bigotry or white supremacy in any form is blasphemy against the American creed".
On Saturday night, all of the five living former US presidents, without current POTUS Donald Trump, will attend a disaster relief event in the city of Austin, Texas.
Bush's denunciation of the Trump dispensation was even sharper. Their "call to action" recommended four steps: hardening American defenses against external threats, reinvigorating American promotion of freedom and values overseas, educating the American populace about the history of democracy and bolstering democratic institutions worldwide. "People of every race, religion, and ethnicity can be fully and equally American", he said.
The former president looped in a condemnation of white supremacy as part of his speech, suggesting that it was a growing threat in Trump's America.
"America has experienced a sustained attempt by a hostile power to exploit our country's divisions and feed them".More news: FDA approves cancer breakthrough that costs $375000 per treatment
He also mentioned Russia's influence in the 2016 presidential election, calling on the United States to "harden its own defenses".
He added that "foreign aggressions, including cyberattacks, disinformation and financial influence, should never be downplayed or tolerated".
A White House spokesman did not immediately respond Thursday to a request for comment on Bush's speech from CNBC.
Bannon's broadside was prompted by a rare political speech that Bush delivered on Thursday (Friday NZT) in which he warned of threats to U.S. democracy and a decay of civic engagement.More news: Seven killed, 22 injured in roadside blast in Quetta