Rapper regrets calling Bush a racist

2010-11-11 07:59

Rap star Kanye West, who ranted that “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” following the slow response to Hurricane Katrina, dialled back those comments in an interview yesterday.

“I would tell George Bush, in my moment of frustration, I didn’t have the grounds to call him a racist,” West told NBC television.

“I believe that in a situation of high emotion like that, we as human beings don’t always choose the right words,” said West, who had condemned the then-president at a September 2005 television fundraiser for Katrina victims.

West’s remorseful comments came after Bush opened up on US television this week, calling the charge that the lethargic federal response to Katrina had been driven by racism one of the “most disgusting” moments of his presidency”.

Bush’s strong reaction to the criticism came during his media tour for his newly published memoir Decision Points, giving readers an inside look into his eight-years in the White House.

Yesterday, upon being told of West’s apologetic remarks, Bush told NBC: “I appreciate that.”

He added, however, that “it wasn’t just Kanye West who was talking like that during Katrina. I cited him as an example – I cite others as an example as well,” said the former president, criticising “an environment in which people were willing to say things that hurt”.

“I’m not a hater,” Bush said. “Nobody wants to be called a racist if in your heart you believe in the equality of race.”

In his memoir released on Tuesday, Bush confesses he did not respond as effectively as he could have to Katrina, which some critics viewed as the low point of his presidency.

Bush has also acknowledged that photographs now seared in the public memory showing him conducting a “flyover” of New Orleans without landing the aircraft for a closer look at the devastation made him seem “detached and uncaring”.

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