There are Freudian slips, and then there are what former President George W. Bush said Wednesday.
Speaking in Dallas at an event at Southern Methodist University’s Bush Center, Bush praised Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as a modern-day Winston Churchill, but it was a slip of the tongue that his speech will be remembered for.
While speaking about the repressive regime of Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Bush said: “The result is an absence of checks and balances in Russia, and the decision of one man to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq.”
“I mean, of Ukraine,” he quickly corrected himself.
Video of the speech showed a moment of silence from the crowd, then chuckles as Bush realized his blunder and quipped about his age — “Anyways. I’m 75,” drawing more laughs.
Bush’s invasion of Iraq in 2003 — based on unfounded U.S. claims of weapons of mass destruction and leading to hundreds of thousands of deaths, according to some studies — has been called unjustified and brutal by some critics.
In his speech, Bush hailed Zelensky as “a cool little guy,” according to the Dallas Morning News, and called him “the Churchill of the 21st century,” noting his strength comes from his electoral legitimacy — another comment that some critics would call ironic, based on Bush’s disputed election victory in 2000.