In an interview with NPR published on Sunday, the “Rocketman” singer said he admired DeGeneres for how she addressed the controversy surrounding her friendship with the former president after she was photographed with Bush at a football game earlier this month.
“I admire Ellen for standing up and saying what she said,” John told NPR.
“George Bush has made a lot of mistakes. I made a lot of mistakes. Ellen DeGeneres has made a lot of mistakes,” he continued. “People need to come together. […] They need to respect people’s view on life. Except when it’s heresy, and I don’t think George Bush is that kind of guy.”
DeGeneres received a barrage of criticism online after she and the 43rd president were pictured grinning together at the Dallas Cowboys’s game against the Green Bay Packers earlier this month. The heat prompted the “Ellen” host to dedicate an opening monologue on her show last week to address the matter.
“Here’s the thing,” the 61-year-old said during the broadcast. “I’m friends with George Bush. In fact, I’m friends with a lot of people who don’t share the same beliefs that I have.”
“We’re all different, and I think we’ve forgotten that that’s OK that we’re all different,” DeGeneres said, while also adding, “Just because I don’t agree with someone on everything doesn’t mean I’m not going to be friends with them.”
“When I say ‘be kind to one another,’ I don’t mean only the people who think the same way you do. I mean be kind to everyone, it doesn’t matter,” DeGeneres added.
Her response has drawn mixed reactions from celebrities in the past week, with prominent figures like Reese Witherspoon, Mark Ruffalo and Susan Sarandon at odds over the comedian’s defense of her friendship with Bush.
“Sorry, until George W. Bush is brought to justice for the crimes of the Iraq War, (including American-lead torture, Iraqi deaths & displacement, and the deep scars—emotional & otherwise—inflicted on our military that served his folly), we can’t even begin to talk about kindness,” Ruffalo said on Twitter.