In the era of President Donald Trump, former President George W. Bush doesn’t look so bad to many Republicans and Democrats.
When Bush left office in 2009, he was the politician that everyone in America loved to hate. His approval rating was at 33% — the lowest of any outgoing president since Richard Nixon — and just 24% of Americans approved of the way he had handled the economic collapse.
But things started turning around for Bush, who turned 71 this week, after he left office — even more so since Trump’s election.
According to a Washington Post ABC poll from 2013, 47% of Americans said they approve of Bush’s eight years in office, which was a seven-year high for the much-maligned former President.
And even more recently, a C-SPAN survey of presidential historians showed Bush making gains in the rankings of presidents. The survey, from earlier this year, showed Bush ranked at 33rd out of 44. When C-SPAN conducted the same poll in 2009, Bush was ranked at 36.
While those marks still aren’t stellar, Bush appears to be having a new moment in the American imagination. From his enigmatic shower paintings to his reported profanity-laced remarks after Trump’s inauguration, the 43rd president has shown off his softer, folksier side since leaving office, reminding everyone why they liked him in the first place — and even miss him a little bit now.
Grace Wyler contributed to this report.
That time he kissed Oprah.
Or anyone else, for that matter.
His Twin Day with Vladimir Putin in Hanoi.