All five living former U.S. presidents took to the stage in College Station, Texas, on Saturday night for a benefit concert raising funds for hurricane victims in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama first came together last month to launch the hurricane relief fund “One America Appeal.”
The initiative has raised $31 million to date, with contributions from more than 80,000 donors. One hundred percent of proceeds has been pledged to helping hurricane victims recover.
On Saturday, 10,000 people gathered at Texas A&M University’s Reed Arena for the sold-out “Deep from the Heart: One America Appeal” concert, reported the Texas Tribune. Lyle Lovett, Lee Greenwood and Gospel legend Yolanda Adams were among the performers who regaled the crowd. Pop star Lady Gaga also made a surprise appearance, and announced she was donating $1 million to the hurricane relief fund.
The audience cheered wildly when the five former presidents appeared on stage. They last gathered together in 2013, when Obama was still in office.
“We could not be prouder of the response of Americans — when they see their neighbors, when they see their friends, when they see strangers in need, Americans step up,” Obama told the audience.
“And as heartbreaking as the tragedies that took place here in Texas and in Florida and in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have been, what we’ve also seen is the spirit of America at its best.”
Obama went on to highlight the charitable efforts of George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush, calling the senior Bush an “outstanding American who has always shown grace and character and courage and served America nobly throughout the years.”
President Donald Trump did not attend the show, but sent a prerecorded message that was screened during the event.
“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 in his greeting.