"It was one of the most disgusting moments in my presidency. He called me a racist, and I didn't appreciate it then. I don't appreciate it now. It's one thing to say, 'I don't appreciate the way he's handled his business.' It's another thing to say, 'This man's a racist.' I resent it. It's not true."
-Former president George W. Bush, describing to "Today" host Matt Lauer how he felt (and still feels) after Kanye West called him out during a telethon in 2005. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, West was one of dozens of stars who were a part of a televised fundraiser for the victims of the storm, one of the most disastrous in the history of the United States (a disaster that was compounded by the fact that the government's response with aid was remarkably slow). During the live broadcast, West went off script, looked straight at the camera and declared, "George Bush doesn't care about black people," implying that the lack of governmental support in New Orleans was because of racial prejudice. Bush declared the moment "a low point" in his presidency, clearly forgetting an awful lot of his eight years in office.
But the 43rd president, speaking to Lauer about his about-to-be-published memoir "Decision Points," resented the fact that West attacked him on the grounds of race. "My record was strong, I felt, when it came to race relations and giving people a chance," he told Lauer. "I also make it clear that the misery in Louisiana affected me deeply as well. There's a lot of tough moments in the book. And it was a disgusting moment, pure and simple."