Former Presidents Lead Texas Concert for Hurricane Relief

All five living ex-presidents appeared together for the first time since 2013 at a Texas concert for hurricane relief Saturday night.

Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama appeared together on stage at the start of the concert at Texas A&M University in College Station.

The current president, Donald Trump, recorded a video message for the concert praising his predecessors as “some of America’s finest public servants.”

“This wonderful effort reminds us that we truly are one nation under God, all unified by our values and devotion to one another,” Trump said.

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.

Texas A&M is home to the presidential library of the elder Bush. At 93, he 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.

George W. Bush was Texas governor before leaving for the White House and now lives in Dallas.

There is precedent for former presidents joining forces for post-disaster fundraising. George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton raised money together after the 2004 South Asia tsunami and Hurricane Katrina the next year. Clinton and George W. Bush combined to seek donations after Haiti’s 2011 earthquake.

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.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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