U2’s Bono recently paid a visit to former President George W. Bush at the latter’s Prairie Chapel Ranch in Crawford, Texas.
The 57-year-old singer and philanthropist stopped by the Bush ranch on May 26, just a few hours before U2’s sold-out show at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. The two men posed for a picture together, and later they both uploaded it to their respective Intsagram accounts.
“Bono is the real deal,” Bush wrote underneath the image, according to ABC News. “He has a huge heart and a selfless soul, not to mention a decent voice. [Laura Bush] and I are grateful he came to the ranch to talk about the work of [the Bush Center], [the ONE Campaign], PEPFAR, and our shared commitment to saving lives in Africa.”
PEPFAR, or the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, is a government program aimed at addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa and other parts of the world. The initiative was launched by Bush when he was in the White House.
The ONE Campaign is a humanitarian advocacy project co-founded by Bono in 2004. Its purpose is to combat poverty and preventable disease in Africa.
“More than 11 million people are alive today thanks to this man’s creation of PEPFAR, the U.S. AIDS program that has been saving lives and preventing new HIV infections for over 10 years, with strong support from political leaders right, left, and center,” he wrote. “That progress is all at risk now with President Trump’s budget cuts, which will mean needless infections and lives lost. — Bono.”
In April, Bush published an op-ed in The Washington Post called “PEPFAR Saves Millions of Lives in Africa. Keep It Fully Funded.”
“My administration launched PEPFAR in 2003 to address the HIV/AIDS pandemic that threatened to wipe out an entire generation on the continent of Africa,” he wrote. “Nearly 15 years later, the program has achieved remarkable results in the fight against disease. Today, because of the commitment of many foreign governments, investments by partners, the resilience of the African people and the generosity of the American people, nearly 12 million lives have been saved. And nearly 2 million babies have been born HIV-free to infected mothers.”
Bush proceeded to warn the government against defunding PEPFAR as it reconfigures the budget under President Donald Trump:
As the executive and legislative branches review the federal budget, they will have vigorous debates about how best to spend taxpayers’ money — and they should. Some will argue that we have enough problems at home and shouldn’t spend money overseas. … Saving nearly 12 million lives is proof that PEPFAR works, and I urge our government to fully fund it. We are on the verge of an AIDS-free generation, but the people of Africa still need our help. The American people deserve credit for this tremendous success and should keep going until the job is done.