As part of his media tour to promote his new book, President George W. Bush stopped by a few talk shows this week to talk about his post-White House hobby, U.S. pop culture and government secrets.
His new book “Portraits of Courage” features a collection of oil paintings he made with of military veterans and their stories. Bush picked up painting as a hobby after leaving the White House in 2009. In an appearance on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” Bush said that he got a little bored at times after leaving Washington.
HIS PAINTING HOBBY
“You’re going 100 miles an hour and the next day, you wake up and nothing -- go get the coffee yourself, buddy,” he joked to Kimmel. “So, I wrote these books which surprised a lot of people...they didn’t think I could read, much less write.”
Bush said he read Winston Churchill’s essay “Painting is a pastime,” and, “I basically said if this guy can paint, I can paint.” The former president said that he had previously been “agnostic” about art, but then hired an instructor and bought paints, a canvas and some brushes.
GOVERNMENT SECRETS & U.F.Os
During the interview, Kimmel asked Bush if he ever went through the government’s “secret files -- the U.F.O. documents.”
“Maybe,” Bush said. “It’s funny, my daughters asked the very same question,” but said he couldn’t talk to them about it.
Kimmel said that Bush could share the secrets now that he’s out of office.
“True, but I’m not telling ya,” Bush said.
“You’re not telling me, what? You’re not telling me you looked at them?” Kimmel asked.
“I’m not telling ya nothing,” Bush said.
THE CHENEY QUAIL HUNTING INCIDENT
The former president also discussed the 2006 incident when former Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot fellow hunter Harry Whittington during a quail hunt on a South Texas ranch.
“What irritated me about that is he shot the only trial lawyer for me in Texas,” Bush joked, adding that it was an “unusual period.”
Asked if the situation was ever funny, Bush said, “Every time Cheney would come in, a lot of people would yell, ‘Duck.’”
“Or, in this case, quail,” Kimmel said.
Speaking about presidential impersonations, Bush revealed that he hadn’t seen Alec Baldwin’s “Saturday Night Live” impression of President Trump.
“I had dinner with Lorne Michaels, the head of S.N.L., and he said, ‘I put a great speechwriter on you and he came up with, ‘strategery,’ and I said, ‘Wait a minute, I said ‘strategery.’ And he said, ‘No, you didn’t say strategery.’ I said, ‘I damn sure said strategery.’ I said, ‘Well, let me ask you this, did he come up with misunderestimate?’”
Kimmel asked Bush if he pays attention to pop culture.
“No,” Bush replied.
“You don’t know that Beyonce is pregnant?” Kimmel asked.
“No,” Bush said.
“Do you know who Beyonce’s husband is?” Kimmel asked.
“No,” Bush said.
“Do you know who Beyonce is?”
“Yes,” Bush said.
Kimmel then asked if he knows who won the Academy Award for best picture last Sunday.
“...Pass the envelope please,” he joked.
THE CURRENT POLITICAL CLIMATE
Bush also made an appearance on “The Ellen Show” with Ellen Degeneres. While he did a little dancing onto the stage, he then got a little more serious when he spoke about the current political climate.
“Well, I think that this isn’t the first time our nation has ever been divided,” Bush said. “I remember what it was like when I got out of college. There was a Vietnam war and a draft. There were major race riots. There were political assassinations. The president was nearly impeached. A lot of people thought the country was going down the tubes. It turns out we’re too strong to go down the tubes. I’m very optimistic.”