George W. Bush on the direction of the US under Trump: "I don’t like the racism"

Former President George W. Bush has been notoriously tight-lipped since he left the White House in 2009, choosing not to comment on politics.

But Bush had some tough words for the political climate since President Donald Trump was inaugurated last month, calling it "pretty ugly."

"I don't like the racism and I don't like the name-calling and I don't like the people feeling alienated," Bush told People magazine in an interview published late Monday night. "Nobody likes that."

Still, Bush told People he's "optimistic" about the country's future.

"We've been through these periods before and we've always had a way to come out of it," Bush said. "I'm more optimistic than some."

Bush has spoken out about his feelings on Trump in recent days as he promotes a new exhibit at his presidential library, Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief's Tribute to America's Warriors.

Earlier on Monday, Bush called for "answers" about Trump's alleged ties to Russia in an interview on NBC's Today show.

Bush added that he's not a fan of Trump's war with the media, calling the press "indispensable to democracy."

"We need an independent media to hold people like me to account," Bush told NBC's Matt Lauer. "Power can be very addictive, and it can be corrosive, and it's important for the media to call to account people who abuse their power, whether it be here or elsewhere."