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capitol riot aftermath

George W. Bush says the Capitol riot made him 'sick to my stomach'

On Jan. 6, former President George W. Bush had a visceral reaction to the images being beamed from Washington of supporters of then-President Donald Trump storming the Capitol as lawmakers certified Joe Biden's electoral victory.

"I was sick to my stomach," Bush told Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith during an interview taped on Feb. 24 and shown Thursday at the SXSW conference. It was difficult to "see our nation's Capitol being stormed by hostile forces," Bush said, and the assault "disgusted" him to the point where he "did put out a statement, and I'm still disturbed when I think about it."

In that statement, Bush said the "scenes of mayhem" in Washington left him "in disbelief and dismay. It is a sickening and heartbreaking sight. This is how election results are disputed in a banana republic — not our democratic republic. I am appalled by the reckless behavior of some political leaders since the election and by the lack of respect shown today for our institutions, our traditions, and our law enforcement."

Bush did not attack Trump by name during his interview with Smith. When asked if he thought the 2020 presidential election was stolen, Bush replied, "No."