George W. Bush Says He Doesn't 'Hate' Kanye West

'I am not a hater. I don't hate Kanye West,' former president tells 'Today' show.

Months after the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Kanye West and former president George W. Bush are diving back into their post-disaster dustup, with each man expressing remorse about the incident in which West infamously declared, "George Bush doesn't care about black people."

On NBC's "Today" show Wednesday morning (November 10), while promoting his new memoir, in which he dubs West's comment a "low point" of his presidency, Bush explained that he harbors no ill will toward the rapper.

"I am not a hater. I don't hate Kanye West," he told "Today" host Matt Lauer. "I was talking about an environment in which people were willing to say things that hurt. Nobody wants to be called a racist, if in your heart you believe in equality of race."

Earlier Lauer had interviewed West, who said that he tagged Bush a racist in a moment of frustration he now regrets. "I would say of George Bush, in my moment of frustration, I didn't have the grounds to call him a racist," he said. "But I believe that in a situation of high emotion like that, we as human beings don't always choose the right words."

When he was shown the clip on "Today," Bush said he welcomed West's comments and sought to play down the rapper's role in post-Katrina criticism of the White House. "I appreciate that," he told Lauer. "It wasn't just Kanye West who was talking like that during Katrina. I cite him as an example."

Following his "Today" interview, which has not yet aired in full, West took to Twitter to announce that he felt Lauer had not treated him fairly during the chat — which included footage of West's interruption of Taylor Swift at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. "He tried to force my answers. It was very brutal and I came there with only positive intent," West wrote.