Attorney General William Barr has discussed the different “styles” of former President George H.W. Bush and President Donald Trump in a candid interview with SiriusXM’s The Catholic Channel.
Barr served as attorney general from 1991 to 1993 during the Bush administration and has been serving in the same role in the Trump administration since February 2019.
During an interview with Archbishop of New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan and co-host Father Dave Dwyer, CSP, on their show “Conversation with Cardinal Dolan,” Barr noted that both presidents are “very different.”
“I love both men. H.W. (George Herbert Walker Bush) was more low-key. He had a very strong interest in foreign policy in which he really focused his attention on.”
“The interesting thing about Trump is that he’s very hands-on,” Barr continued. “He’ll bring people in to explain things to them, he’ll reach down and bring the experts in… and he listens.”
When pressed for more details about working with Trump, Barr explained: “I see him on a regular basis, several times a week, he’s very easy to work with, he has a good sense of humour, he’s very direct.”
“One of the things I like about him is that what you see in public is what you see in private. He doesn’t have two different acts that he puts on and he’s much more engaged than people give him credit for.
“He’s a strong leader, getting things done, and I sometimes say if he wasn’t facing the resistance he is and the dogged opposition that he faces, you just wonder how much more he could accomplish because he’s accomplished a lot in the face of great resistance.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Barr, a devout Catholic, discussed religious freedom in the United States and warned that religion is being “driven out of the marketplace of ideas,” and that “there’s an organized, militant secular effort to drive religion out of our lives.”
“To me, the problem today is not that religious people are trying to impose their views on nonreligious people,” he said.
“It’s the opposite—it’s that militant secularists are trying to impose their values on religious people, and they’re not accommodating the freedom of religion of people of faith.”
Barr noted that the Founding Fathers viewed religion as “essential to maintaining a free country.”
“The reason they felt they could grant so much freedom in the Constitution and only provide for limited government was because they felt that religion was there and the people were religious people who could largely govern themselves,” he said.
“All the founders, and as you pointed out earlier to me, Your Eminence, Alexis de Tocqueville observed the centrality of religion, to the health of American democracy.”
Barr added that he was not talking about mixing church and state.
“We believe in the separation of church and state. But what permits a limited government and minimal command and control of the population and allows people to have freedom of choice in their lives, and trust in the people is the fact that they are a people that are capable of disciplining themselves according to moral values,” he added.
This is not the first time that Barr has criticized militant secularism. In October last year, the Attorney General gave an impassioned speech at Notre Dame University, in which he argued that “militant secularists” were behind a “campaign to destroy the traditional moral order.”
Barr added that those who hold religious beliefs face “social, educational, and professional ostracism and exclusion waged through lawsuits and savage social media campaigns.”