College Station, Texas, USA: All five living former US presidents gathered at Texas A&M University’s Reed Arena in College Station, home to the presidential library of the elder Bush, tonight for a Hurricane relief benefit concert. The concert was for relief efforts from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria’s devastation in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The hurricane relief appeal backed by the ex-presidents has raised $31 million since it began on Sept. 7, said Jim McGrath, spokesperson for George H.W. Bush. 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. He didn’t answer a question about whether Trump was formally invited.
The concert featured the country music band Alabama, Rock & Roll Hall of Famer ‘Soul Man’ Sam Moore, gospel legend Yolanda Adams and Texas musicians Lyle Lovett and Robert Earl Keen. Grammy award winner Lady Gaga also made a surprise appearance at the concert.
President Donald Trump in a video greeting called the former presidents “some of America’s finest public servants.”
Four of the five former presidents — Barak Obama, George W. Bush, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton — made brief remarks that did not mention Trump. The elder Bush (George H.W. Bush) did not speak but smiled and waved to the crowd. At 93, George H.W. Bush has a form of Parkinson’s disease and uses a motorized scooter or a wheelchair for mobility, though he participated in the coin flip at February’s Super Bowl in his hometown of Houston.
The five former US presidents appealed for national unity to help those hurt by the hurricanes.
Hurricane Harvey slammed into Texas’ Gulf Coast as a Category 4 hurricane on Aug. 25, eventually unleashing historic flooding in Houston and killing more than 80 people. Shortly thereafter, all five ex-presidents appeared in a commercial for a fundraising effort known as “One America Appeal.” In it, George W. Bush says, “People are hurting down here.” His father, George H.W. Bush, then replies, “We love you, Texas.”
A website accepting donations, OneAmericaAppeal.org, was created with 100 percent of proceeds pledged to hurricane relief.
Hurricane Irma subsequently hit Florida and Hurricane Maria battered Puerto Rico, while both affected the U.S. Virgin Islands. Organizers expanded the fundraising campaign to help those storm victims, too.