On Wednesday, ABC news reported that George W. Bush earned $100,000 from a 2012 speech. He also charged $20,000 for a private jet to the event.
As nauseating as that figure is – plus another $50,000 for a previous Laura Bush speech – the news has earned more attention because of the audience the Bushes had. That would be Helping a Hero, a controversy-dogged nonprofit which helps severely injured veterans from the War on Terror afford disability-accessible houses, attend family counseling, and generally get back into the swing of life at home.
Even among folks who think that ex-politicians raking in millions of dollars from speeches is acceptable, W. charging such a hefty fee to speak in front of people he sent to war rankles. This is good. Even a small dose of shame is good for Bush, and for any other ex-politician who happily earns a tidy profit based on their blood-soaked reputation.
Soldiers aren’t overjoyed either. ABC quoted Eddie Wright, a wounded veteran who briefly worked with Helping a Hero, as saying “For [Bush] to be paid to raise money for veterans that were wounded in combat under his orders, I don’t think that’s right.” A former spokesperson for the charity countered that Bush had given them a discount on his usual fee, but Politico’s research suggests that that’s not true. Helping a Hero also excused the high prices by saying that W. and Laura Bush had participated in fundraising efforts for them before. So this is what? A way of paying them back? Breaking even? It still doesn’t seem very charitable