WASHINGTON — Former US president George W. Bush praised the mission to eliminate Osama bin Laden as a “good call” but was “not overjoyed” by the news, ABC News reported Friday.
ABC said Bush told an audience this week that he received word that his successor President Barack Obama wanted to talk to him while dining at a restaurant.
“I was eating souffle at Rise Restaurant with Laura and two buddies,” Bush said according to an ABC News contributor. “I excused myself and went home to take the call,” he added.
“Obama simply said ‘Osama Bin Laden is dead.’”
Bush said Obama described in detail the mission to raid bin Laden’s Pakistani compound on May 2 and that he told Obama, “Good call.”
Bush, who initiated the global hunt for bin Laden after the September 11, 2001 attacks, has declined interview requests since the Al-Qaeda leader was eliminated as well as an invitation from Obama to join him at Ground Zero to meet with victims’ families.
But he spoke to a crowd at a Las Vegas event on Wednesday about bin Laden’s death.
When asked how he felt upon learning the news, Bush said he was “not overjoyed,” explaining that the campaign to track down Al-Qaeda leader was done not “out of hatred but to exact judgment.”
“The guy is dead. That is good,” Bush said of bin Laden. “Osama’s death is a great victory in the war on terror. He was held up as a leader.”
He added that the intelligence services “deserve a lot of credit. They built a mosaic of information, piece by piece.”
And Bush praised the legendary Navy SEAL Team Six saying: “They are awesome, skilled, talented and brave.”
Shortly after the news of bin Laden’s death, Bush issued a statement saying the mission marked “a victory for America.”