Appeal backed by former presidents raises $31M

Violet Powell
October 23, 2017

Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama were on stage at the start of the concert in College Station, Texas, home of Texas A&M University, where the elder Bush's presidential library is located.

President George H.W. Bush did not address the crowd but smiled and waved from the stage. He has a form of Parkinson's disease and appeared in a wheelchair at the event.

The concert, which was streamed live on the One America Appeal website, featured performances by country band Alabama, Grammy-winning "Soul Man" singer Sam Moore, gospel legend Yolanda Adams as well as Texas musicians Lyle Lovett and Robert Earl Keen.

"Let's all work together and make America still a greater volunteer nation", said Carter, making an apparent play on President Donald Trump's "Make America Great Again" campaign slogan. They appealed for national unity to help those hurt by the hurricanes.

George H.W. Bush and Clinton raised money after the 2004 South Asia tsunami as well as Hurricane Katrina the following year. Clinton and George W. Bush combined to seek donations after Haiti's 2011 quake.

Having so much ex-presidential power in one place is unusual.

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"When they send out a call for help, especially on something that's not political, they can rake in big money", Rottinghaus added. "There is still work to be done in Texas and in Florida, and our friends in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have only begun to dig their way out of what could be still a calamitous disaster, but can be a new beginning".

But Rottinghaus said ex-presidents are seen as less polarizing than the current president.

Hurricane Harvey slammed into Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast as a Category 4 hurricane on August 25, unleashing historic flooding in Houston and killing more than 80 people.

All in all, it was a successful event for One America Appeal - the only interest that really, truly mattered on Saturday evening - and, thanks to the support of five ex-presidents, a major win for a united America.

"The heartbreaking devastation caused by hurricanes Harvey and Irma and Maria and Nate, along with the awful wildfires in California, have impacted millions of our fellow Americans", Trump said in the video.

"We know how committed they all are to helping the victims of all these hurricanes try to get back on their feet", Young said.

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