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George Bush senior voted for Clinton, says Trump is a 'blowhard'

President George HW Bush, pictured in February 2017, issued an apology to actress Heather Lind after she accused him of groping her at an event to promote a TV series
Patrick Smith (GETTY/AFP/File)
His son, president from 2000 to 2008, reportedly left his ballot paper blank

Former US president George H.W. Bush voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election and called Donald Trump a "blowhard" who was driven by "a certain ego."

His son George W. Bush left his ballot blank and said about Trump: "this guy doesn't know what it means to be president."

The revelations, contained in historian Mark Updegrove's forthcoming book "The Last Republicans," represent the strongest criticism to date from the Bush clan on why their Republican successor is uniquely unfit to hold office.

"I don't like him," the elder Bush told Updegrove in May 2016, according to US media outlets that received an advanced copy of the work.

"I don't know much about him, but I know he's a blowhard. And I'm not too excited about him being a leader," he added.

The younger Bush, meanwhile, was skeptical about then-candidate Trump's chances in a race in which his younger brother Jeb was an early favorite.

"Interesting, won't last," was his initial reaction, according to Updegrove.

The comments are set to escalate a long-running feud and come after George W. Bush gave a speech last month that condemned bigotry, bullying and lies in US politics in what was widely seen as a broadside against Trump even though the president was not mentioned by name.

Updegrove told CNN his book's title came from a comment made by the younger Bush, who said he was afraid he would be "the last Republican president" -- not just because Clinton was seen as favorite to win the election, but because Trump represented a major break from traditional conservatism.

"There's no question that I think there's a battle for the soul of the Republican Party. And the Republicans have to figure out who they are, and what they stand for," Updegrove said.

A White House official later hit back, telling CNN: "If one presidential candidate can disassemble a political party, it speaks volumes about how strong a legacy its past two presidents really had."

"And that begins with the Iraq war, one of the greatest foreign policy mistakes in American history," the official added.

The younger Bush also pushed back hard on the widely-held perception during his time in office that his vice president Dick Cheney and secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld controlled the White House from behind the scenes.

They "didn't make one fucking decision," he told Updegrove.

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