Four of the five former presidents spoke at the concert, appealing for national unity to help those affected by the hurricanes. The elder Bush, sitting in his wheelchair, did not speak but smiled and waved to the crowd.
Carter told the crowd that Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit organization he has worked with for 36 years, has agreed to build 6,000 homes in devastated areas. The group has raised $20 million of a needed $100 million, he said.
Clinton said that the country “has been volunteering since before the Constitution, when Benjamin Franklin organized the first volunteer fire department in Philadelphia.”
“The heart of America, without regard to race or religion or political party, is greater than our problems,” Clinton said.
“What we’ve also seen was the spirit of America at its best,” Obama said. “When ordinary people step up and do extraordinary things.”
“I want to thank all the volunteers, but I am here for another reason. I speak for the folks right here when I say we really admire and love George H.W. Bush,” the younger Bush said.
The last time the five men appeared together was in 2013, when Obama was still in office, at the dedication of George W. Bush's presidential library in Dallas.
Trump thanked the former presidents in his taped message.
“To Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, Melania and I want to express our deep gratitude for your tremendous assistance," Trump said. "This wonderful effort reminds us that we truly are one nation under God, all unified by our values and our devotion to one another.”