George W. Bush and the other four living former U.S. Presidents have something cooking against Donald Trump

Former U.S. President George W. Bush finally did today what he had, by his own admission, long been loathe to do since leaving office: he publicly ripped into the current President. Bush delivered a speech full of pointed and detailed insults slamming nearly every aspect of Donald Trump’s presidency, all without speaking his name, but leaving no question as to his target. This didn’t come out of nowhere; there’s more going on here than meets the eye.

As it became clear that Trump wasn’t going to provide adequate relief for the recent spate of hurricanes, all five living former U.S. Presidents came together to launch a charitable foundation called One America Appeal. These five men each have their own charities, and some of them have already spent years partnering with each other’s charities. This was something different. It was intended as a statement, at a time when the United States has a total vacuum in presidential leadership – and it seemed clear that there was much more to it.

Now that the five President partnership has been firmly and publicly established in the form of joint television commercials and more, the most conservative of the five – George W. Bush – took a calculated but brutal series of shots at Donald Trump today. Although he’s the least popular of the five former Presidents, his attack on Trump would have carried the most weight because he’s a die hard conservative Republican himself. If these five men are coordinating something political, Step One would be for W to come out swinging like he did today. So what now?

George W. Bush’s blistering condemnation of Donald Trump will receive some media attention for the next several news cycles. Whatever the five Presidents are cooking up behind the scenes, we won’t see Step Two for a little bit. But Bush’s speech today wasn’t just an isolated one-off; there’s more to this. Update President Obama just delivered a speech condemning Trump as well, saying “Some of the politics we see now, we thought we put that to bed. That’s folks looking 50 years back.” Stay tuned.

Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report