Former presidents take stage at hurricane benefit concert

Posted October 23, 2017

100 percent of ticket sales will benefit hurricane victims.

Former presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter appeared together on stage Saturday night for the national anthem, then took their seats in the front row at the concert.

The appeal backed by the ex-presidents has raised $31 million since it began on September 7, said Jim McGrath, spokesman for George H.W. Bush.

"There's still work to do", Clinton said.

The Deep from the Heart One America Appeal Concert, organized through the George H.W. Bush Presidential Foundation, had already raised $31 million for hurricane relief efforts and sought Saturday night to continue the much-needed support for now millions of hurricane victims.

The event, coordinated by the five former presidents as a fundraiser for hurricane relief, featured several renown musical artists, including Robert Earl Keen, Lyle Lovett, Sam Moore, the group Alabama and "special guest" Lady Gaga. "We came together. We helped one another and through it all we remained resilient", Trump said in a video message played during the "Deep From The Heart, The One America Appeal" concert at Texas A&M University's Reed Arena.

Rousing applause greeted all of the Presidents, but especially George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

"As we begin to rebuild, some of America's finest public servants are spearheading the One America Appeal", said Trump, whose administration's response to the heavy storm damage in Puerto Rico has drawn fire.

Texas A&M is home to the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library.

In 2004, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton worked together to raise money after the tsunami in South Asia, and again the following year after Hurricane Katrina. "Presidents have the most powerful and prolific fundraising base of any politician in the world".

As the Trump administration is noted to have been slow to bring aid to storm-ravaged Puerto Rico, the United States president occupied himself instead with tweeted accusations that members of the island's government displayed "poor leadership", and that "electric and all infrastructure was disaster before hurricanes".