Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Jimmy Carter showed Donald Trump what real winning looks like on Saturday evening.
The ex-presidents gathered in College Station, Texas for a benefit concert that was put together to raise money for One America Appeal’s ongoing hurricane relief efforts. The concert featured an assortment of rock and country musicians — including an unadvertised appearance by Lady Gaga.
“In a time of catastrophe we all put our difference aside and we all come together because we need each other or we can’t survive,” Gaga said to the crowd before her three-song performance. She also announced that she’d be donating $1 million to hurricane relief efforts.
The ex-presidents emphasized unity and a setting aside of political differences as each spoke to the crowd.
“It’s important that those affected by these devastating storms know that even if the path to recovery feels like a road that goes on forever, we’re with them for the long haul,” the senior Bush said at one point.
“Our friends in Puerto Rico and the American Virgin Islands have only begun to dig their way out of what could be still a calamitous disaster, but can be a new beginning if we just do what we ought to do and prove that the heart of America — without regard to race or religion, or political party — is greater than our problems,” Clinton said during his own speech.
As of Saturday evening, the charity event had amassed an impressive $31 million from more than 80,000 donors, CNN reported.
Even Trump, who has at various points criticized each of these ex-presidents directly and indirectly, had words of praise for the five — “some of America’s finest public servants,” he said — in a pre-recorded message that also praised the country’s ability to unite.
“This wonderful effort reminds us that we truly are one nation under God, all unified by our values and devotion to one another,” Trump said.
While sitting presidents often get a pass on attending public events like these — running the country is hard work, after all — it’s OK if you have a hard time buying an excuse like that from Trump.
The 45th U.S. president spent four hours on Saturday at his Sterling, Virginia golf club, according to the press pool report. It’s not clear if he played, but four hours is more than enough time to squeeze in a full 18 holes.
That said, it might be best that Trump sat on the sidelines for this one. Even when he’s not actively whipping up his so-called “base,” the current president’s boorish behavior and coarse talk has frequently created problems inside and outside the White House.
All in all, it was a successful event for One America Appeal — the only interest that really, truly mattered on Saturday evening — and, thanks to the support of five ex-presidents, a major win for a united America.