Despite a contentious public relationship, Donald Trump issued a statement praising the life and legacy of George H.W. Bush after the former president’s passing Friday night at 94-years-old.
“Through his essential authenticity, disarming wit, and unwavering commitment to faith, family, and country, President Bush inspired generations of his fellow Americans to public service—to be, in his words, ‘a thousand points of light’ illuminating the greatness, hope, and opportunity of America to the world.”
But there was no love lost between the two during the 2016 presidential election, where Trump defeated H.W.’s other son Jeb Bush in the Republican primary. Despite being a lifelong Republican, both H.W. Bush and his son, 43rd President of the United States George Bush declined to endorse Trump over Hillary Clinton. The elder Bush even went so far as to call Trump “a blowhard” in historian Mark Updegrove’s book about the two Bushes, “The Last Republicans,” last November.
The White House hit back at the former president, with one official telling CNN, “If one presidential candidate can disassemble a political party, it speaks volumes about how strong a legacy its past two presidents really had. And that begins with the Iraq war, one of the greatest foreign policy mistakes in American history.”
Trump’s feud with the Bushes led him to decline an invitation to the Texas funeral of former First Lady Barbara Bush earlier this year “to avoid disruptions due to added security, and out of respect for the Bush Family.” Instead, his wife Melania Trump attended with all the other living president and their spouses.
Funeral arrangements for Bush have yet to be announced.
Here’s the statement from the White House in full:
Melania and I join with a grieving Nation to mourn the loss of former President George H.W. Bush, who passed away last night.
Through his essential authenticity, disarming wit, and unwavering commitment to faith, family, and country, President Bush inspired generations of his fellow Americans to public service — to be, in his words, “a thousand points of light” illuminating the greatness, hope, and opportunity of America to the world.
President Bush always found a way to set the bar higher. As a young man, he captained the Yale baseball team, and then went on to serve as the youngest aviator in the United States Navy during the Second World War. Later in life, he rose to the pinnacle of American politics as a Congressman from Texas, envoy to China, Director of Central Intelligence, Vice President of eight years to President Ronald Reagan, and finally President of the United States.
With sound judgement, common sense, and unflappable leadership, President Bush guided our Nation, and the world, to a peaceful and victorious conclusion of the Cold War. As President, he set the stage for the decades of prosperity that have followed. And through all that he accomplished, he remained humble, following the quiet call to service that gave him a clear sense of direction.
Along with his full life of service to country, we will remember President Bush for his devotion to family—especially the love of his life, Barbara. His example lives on, and will continue to stir future Americans to pursue a greater cause. Our hearts ache with his loss, and we, with the American people, send our prayers to the entire Bush family, as we honor the life and legacy of 41.
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