"I consider the media to be indispensable to democracy," said former President George W. Bush in a new interview on the Today show.

The comment was a response to when Matt Lauer asked Bush if he, during his presidency, ever considered the media to be the "enemy of the American people," which is how Trump has described the "fake news media" -- meaning all those major outlets that have been critical of his administration.  

"We need an independent media to hold people like me to account," continued Bush. "Power can be very addictive, and it can be corrosive, and it's important to the media to call to account people who abuse their power." 

Steve Bannon, the White House chief strategist, has referred to the mainstream media (which he likely equates to Trump's definition of the "fake news media") as the "opposition party.

Last week, the White House barred several news outlets, including CNN, the New York Times, Politico, and the Los Angeles Times, from attending an off-camera press briefing with White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. 

Bush said that, during his administration, he tried to encourage other leaders, like Russia's Vladimir Putin, to institute an independent media, before pointing out, "It's kind of hard to tell others to have an independent free press when we're not willing to have one ourselves."  

He was also asked if he thinks a special prosecutor should be appointed to investigate the suspicious ties between Trump staffers and members of the Russian government during last year's campaign. "We all need answers," responded the 43rd president. "Whether or not the special prosecutor is the way to go or not, you're talking to the wrong guy." 

On the topic of Trump's controversial immigration initiatives and sentiments regarding Muslims, Bush -- without explicitly denouncing the proposed Muslim ban -- said, "A bedrock of our freedom is the right to worship freely." "I am for an immigration policy that's welcoming and upholds the law," he added. 

Watch the full interview below.