AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — All five living former U.S. presidents attended a concert Saturday night in a Texas college town, raising money for relief efforts from hurricane devastation in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Democrats Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter and Republicans George H.W. and George W. Bush are putting aside politics for the event. Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria, which made landfall after Harvey and Irma had battered Texas and Florida.
Having so much ex-presidential power in one place is unusual. George H.W. Bush spokesman Jim McGrath said all five of Saturday night’s attendees haven’t been together since the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Library in Dallas in 2013, when Obama was still in office.
An appeal to help hurricane victims backed by the five living former presidents has raised $31 million since it began on Sept. 7, McGrath confirmed.
President Donald Trump recorded a video message for the hurricane relief concert that five former U.S. presidents are attending Saturday night.
Trump says in the video that the American people “came together as one” in the wake of a series of devastating hurricanes that hit Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands in recent weeks.
He’s also thanking presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama – frequent subjects of his wrath- for helping to spearhead the effort, calling them “some of America’s finest public servants.”
He says: “This wonderful effort reminds us that we truly are one nation under God, all unified by our values and devotion to one another.”
President George H.W. Bush was the only one not to address the crowd but smiled and waved from the stage. The 93-year-old elder Bush suffers from a form of Parkinson’s disease and appeared in a wheelchair at the event.
Grammy award winner Lady Gaga made a surprise appearance at the concert.