George W. Bush has found a great way to subsidize his post-presidency painting passion by making quite a killing on the speech-making circuit.
Six-figure fees are quite the norm for W, and even the people he sent off to war to be maimed and traumatized have to cough up at least 100K to hear him and talk – and that’s raising a few eyebrows this morning.
According to NBC’s Chris Jansing:
Former President George W. Bush was paid $100,000 to attend a [veterans’] charity gala in Houston in 2012, NBC News has confirmed.
And the year before, former first lady Laura Bush received $50,000 for her remarks at a gala event for the same group, Helping a Hero. The nonprofit helps to outfit homes for veterans wounded during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
It should be noted here that Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter have never charged a fee when speaking to a veterans’ group.
Helping a Hero, who forked over W’s speaking fee, has nothing but praise for the 43rd President and even paid an extra $20K to shuttle him in on a private jet. They made sure to point out that the $100K was actually a discount from Bush who usually charges up in the $200K range. But not all veterans see it that way.
From ABC News:
One of the wounded vets who served on [Helping a Hero’s] board told ABC News he was outraged that his former commander in chief would charge any fee to speak on behalf of men and women he ordered into harm’s way.
“For him to be paid to raise money for veterans that were wounded in combat under his orders, I don’t think that’s right,” said former Marine Eddie Wright, who lost both hands in a rocket attack in Fallujah, Iraq in 2004.
“You sent me to war,” added Wright speaking of the former President. “I was doing what you told me to do, gladly for you and our country and I have no regrets. But it’s kind of a slap in the face.”
Even Donald Trump took an opportunity to slam Bush. But given his penchant for *slight* exaggerations, he inflated the reported price tag by 20%.
You mean George Bush sends our soldiers into combat, they are severely wounded, and then he wants $120,000 to make a boring speech to them?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 9, 2015
The NBC report added that former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates spoke last year at a fundraiser for the charity and also waived his speaking fee.