Ge­orge HW Bush, 41st US pres­i­dent, dies at home aged 94

The for­mer US pres­i­dent steered his coun­try safely through a tur­bu­lent era in world af­fairs, but paid an elec­toral price for fail­ure with the do­mes­tic econ­omy

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - - George Hw Bush - ©Tele­graph

GE­ORGE HW Bush, the 41st pres­i­dent of the United States, who died last Fri­day aged 94, ap­peared a states­man of global stature af­ter lead­ing an in­ter­na­tional coali­tion to eject Sad­dam Hus­sein’s forces from Kuwait in 1991; yet only a year later his bid for re-elec­tion was hu­mil­i­at­ingly scotched by Bill Clin­ton.

Vic­tory in the Gulf War was se­cured with a skill and de­ci­sive­ness which si­lenced sug­ges­tions of wimp­ish­ness that had haunted his po­lit­i­cal past. His re­solve stiff­ened by Mar­garet Thatcher (“Re­mem­ber Ge­orge, this is no time to go wob­bly”), he re­sponded to the Iraqi in­va­sion of Kuwait on Au­gust 2, 1990 by speed­ily ob­tain­ing a vote for sanc­tions in the United Na­tions. With two-thirds of the world’s oil re­serves threat­ened by Iraqi ex­pan­sion­ism, Rus­sia and China were per­suaded to of­fer their sup­port.

Mean­while Bush con­vinced Saudi Ara­bia to ac­cept the van­guard of Amer­i­can forces. He could not have fore­seen that the move would fo­ment ha­tred for Amer­ica within al-Qaeda, which pas­sion­ately op­posed the pres­ence of Amer­i­can troops on Mus­lim holy lands, and thus con­trib­ute to wars that his son — Ge­orge W Bush — would lead as Amer­ica’s 43rd pres­i­dent.

Be­yond Saudi Ara­bia, Ge­orge HW Bush also kept in con­stant tele­phone con­tact with ev­ery Ara­bian leader op­posed to Iraq.

Is­rael, where gas masks were be­ing handed out in prepa­ra­tion for the pos­si­bil­ity of an Iraqi chem­i­cal at­tack, needed con­stant re­as­sur­ance too, as well as a hand re­strain­ing it from launch­ing re­tal­i­a­tion that might have shat­tered the Arab al­liance within the Amer­i­can-led coali­tion.

In Novem­ber 1990, even as Bush dou­bled the num­ber of Amer­i­can troops in the Gulf (with­out seek­ing the ap­proval of Congress), the United Na­tions set Jan­uary 15, 1991 as the date af­ter which “all nec­es­sary means” might be used to drive Iraqi forces from Kuwait. When the dead­line passed with­out any con­ces­sion from Sad­dam, Bush im­me­di­ately or­dered Op­er­a­tion Desert Storm, un­der which the 34 al­lies be­gan, on Jan­uary 17, to bomb tar­gets in Iraq.

On Fe­bru­ary 15, Sad­dam an­nounced his will­ing­ness to with­draw from Kuwait, but as it be­came clear that the of­fer was linked with the Arab-Is­raeli con­flict, Bush re­jected it as a “cruel hoax”. Brush­ing aside a peace plan con­cocted in Moscow on Fe­bru­ary 21, he or­dered his ground forces to at­tack two days later.

The “100-hour war” proved to be a vir­tual walkover: on Fe­bru­ary 26 Sad­dam con­firmed what was al­ready ap­par­ent on the ground — the with­drawal of his forces from Kuwait. The next day Bush called off the of­fen­sive. Though the oil­fields of Kuwait were set ablaze by re­treat­ing Iraqi forces, Amer­i­can eu­pho­ria knew no bounds. “Those who doubted Ge­orge Bush’s nerve and geopo­lit­i­cal acu­men owe him some­thing of an apol­ogy,” wrote the New Repub­lic. The Pres­i­dent’s pop­u­lar­ity rat­ings soared.

Though it was by far his big­gest suc­cess, vic­tory in the Ara­bian desert was just one tri­umph on the for­eign stage dur­ing a term in of­fice that co­in­cided with the end of the Cold War. And Bush, a for­mer head of the CIA, had the ex­pe­ri­ence and tem­per­a­ment to re­spond to the col­lapse of the Soviet Union and other po­ten­tial en­tan­gle­ments abroad, such as the re­moval from power of the Pana­ma­nian dic­ta­tor, Manuel Nor­iega.

But if ever proof were needed that for­eign pol­icy vic­to­ries, even on the bat­tle­field, count for noth­ing when set against do­mes­tic eco­nomic woes, Bush’s fail­ure to se­cure a se­cond term pro­vided the per­fect ex­am­ple.

Hav­ing wooed the Repub­li­can faith­ful in 1988 with the words “Read my lips: No new taxes”, he was forced to sign off on tax-rais­ing mea­sures as Rea­gan-era bud­get prob­lems spi­ralled.

He never fully re­con­nected with his core sup­port­ers: ap­proval rat­ings that had stood at 90 per cent at the end of the Gulf War were in freefall as the elec­tion year got un­der way. The re­mark­able trans­for­ma­tion from hero to zero was mem­o­rably summed up when, on Jan­uary 8, 1992, Bush vom­ited and fainted at a state ban­quet in Ja­pan in full view of the cam­eras.

End­lessly re­played on tele­vi­sion, im­ages of the world’s most pow­er­ful man brought low had a sim­i­lar ef­fect on his rat­ings, which soon fell to un­der 30 per cent.

Aim­ing to hit back, he launched a spir­ited cam­paign in which he por­trayed his ri­val for the White House as a draft-dodg­ing, mar­i­juana-smok­ing sleaze­ball, bad­gered by a bossy, rad­i­cal-fem­i­nist wife. How­ever, at Bill Clin­ton’s cam­paign head­quar­ters in Lit­tle Rock, Arkansas, the Demo­cratic strate­gist James Carville hung up a sign in­scribed with three rules to keep his own party elec­tion work­ers on mes­sage.

The first tip was to em­pha­sise change over con­ti­nu­ity, the third an in­struc­tion to fo­cus on health care. But it was the se­cond rule that has be­come an in­deli­ble mantra of pol­i­tics since: “The econ­omy, stupid.”

And it was that fail­ure to steady wob­bling Amer­i­can fi­nances that en­sured that, de­spite all his tri­umphs abroad, Ge­orge Bush was fated to be­come one of only three post-war pres­i­dents, along with Jimmy Carter and Ger­ald Ford, to be de­nied four more years by the vot­ers.

Ge­orge Her­bert Walker Bush was born at Mil­ton, Mas­sachusetts, on June 12, 1924 into a long es­tab­lished Wasp fam­ily re­garded by the Amer­i­can East Coast es­tab­lish­ment as “the Achiev­ers”. His fa­ther was Prescott Bush, a busi­ness­man and in­vest­ment banker, who served from 1962 to 1972 as a Repub­li­can sen­a­tor from Con­necti­cut. Ge­orge was brought up with three broth­ers and a sis­ter in the con­ser­va­tive at­mos­phere of the East Coast “Ivy League”.

The fam­ily lived in the pros­per­ous Green­wich sub­urb of New York and Bush was ed­u­cated at Phillips Academy in An­dover, north of Bos­ton, where he cap­tained the bas­ket­ball and foot­ball teams .

He grad­u­ated in 1942 but in­stead of go­ing im­me­di­ately to Yale, he vol­un­teered for the US Navy, en­list­ing on his 18th birth­day and be­com­ing its youngest pi­lot. Next year he joined the air­craft car­rier San Jac­into as a mem­ber of its tor­pedo bomber squadron, and sailed into the Pa­cific.

Dur­ing a raid against a Ja­pa­nese com­mu­ni­ca­tions sta­tion the fol­low­ing year, Bush’s Avenger bomber was badly shot up and his two crew mem­bers killed. As his air­craft broke apart, Bush parachuted into the sea to be picked up by a US sub­ma­rine just as Ja­pa­nese pa­trol boats bore down on him.

Re­turn­ing home a war hero, he mar­ried his child­hood sweet­heart, Bar­bara Pierce, daugh­ter of the chair­man of Mc­Call’s pub­lish­ing group. The cou­ple spent the rest of the war in Vir­ginia Beach, where Bush trained pilots. He was re­leased from the Navy in Septem­ber 1945, and re­sumed his stud­ies at Yale where he took a de­gree in Eco­nom­ics and played in the base­ball and soc­cer teams with such skill that for a time he con­sid­ered be­com­ing a pro­fes­sional base­ball player.

The young cou­ple’s first baby, a son, also Ge­orge, was born dur­ing Bush’s uni­ver­sity ca­reer. They had five other chil­dren, but a girl, Robin, died of leukaemia in 1953 at the age of four.

When he left uni­ver­sity in 1948, Bush started work­ing for In­ter­na­tional Der­rick Equip­ment, a Texan sub­sidiary of Dresser In­dus­tries, an oil­field sup­ply firm, of which his fa­ther was a direc­tor. In 1950 he teamed up with an in­de­pen­dent oil op­er­a­tor, John Overby, and formed a de­vel­op­ment com­pany which bought and sold oil and gas prop­er­ties.

Af­ter three years, the busi­ness was merged with Za­p­ata Pe­tro­leum, which Bush had helped to found with two other busi­ness­men. Then he cre­ated a Za­p­ata sub­sidiary, which de­vel­oped off­shore drilling equip­ment, and be­came its pres­i­dent. The com­pany grew into a multi-mil­lion dol­lar en­ter­prise with op­er­a­tions world­wide. Bush made a for­tune.

His first foray into pol­i­tics came in 1956 when he helped lo­cal Repub­li­cans in West Texas dur­ing the suc­cess­ful Eisen­hower re-elec­tion cam­paign. In 1964 he ran for the Se­nate un­der the ban­ner of Barry Gold­wa­ter, the hard-Right Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date.

He cam­paigned against civil rights leg­is­la­tion, called for arms to be given to anti-Cas­tro ex­iles liv­ing in the US so they could make for­ays into Cuba, and in­sisted on US with­drawal from the UN should China be­come a mem­ber. Al­though Bush be­came a ca­su­alty of the LBJ land­slide that fol­lowed the as­sas­si­na­tion of Pres­i­dent Kennedy, he achieved the high­est share of the vote ever chalked up by a Repub­li­can can­di­date in Texas.

Bush tried again in 1966 with his sights fixed on the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives seat for Texas’s Sev­enth Con­gres­sional Dis­trict, which cov­ered one of Hous­ton’s rich­est sub­urbs. He duly de­feated his con­ser­va­tive Demo­crat op­po­nent, Frank Briscoe, to be­come the first Repub­li­can to rep­re­sent Hous­ton in Congress. By this time, his views seemed to have moved in a more lib­eral di­rec­tion.

He sup­ported the 1968 Gun Con­trol Act, backed leg­is­la­tion to give votes to 18-year-olds, to abol­ish con­scrip­tion, to adopt an ethics code for Congress and to in­sti­tute a hous­ing scheme that upset many of his own con­stituents. He also co-spon­sored par­lia­men­tary acts to ex­pand do­mes­tic birth con­trol pro­grammes and sup­ported wa­ter pol­lu­tion con­trol mea­sures.

In 1970 Bush tried again to win a seat in the Se­nate but, again, failed. By then, how­ever, he had been no­ticed by Pres­i­dent Nixon, who in March 1971 ap­pointed him Amer­ica’s am­bas­sador to the UN. Al­though he had lit­tle knowl­edge of diplo­macy or for­eign af­fairs at that time, Bush made a favourable im­pres­sion on his fel­low UN en­voys, al­though he was com­pelled to pre­side over one of Amer­ica’s big­gest diplo­matic de­feats: the ad­mis­sion to the UN of Com­mu­nist China and the ex­pul­sion of Tai­wan in Oc­to­ber 1971. Bush de­scribed the vote as “a mo­ment of in­famy”.

When he re­signed from the UN in 1973, Bush was asked by Nixon to take over the chair­man­ship of the Repub­li­can Party’s Na­tional Com­mit­tee. He ac­cepted the task, but it be­came a bed of nails as the Water­gate scan­dal be­gan to un­fold. Bush had no in­volve­ment in Water­gate, which led to Nixon’s res­ig­na­tion in 1974, and his work in keep­ing the party united dur­ing dif­fi­cult times won him a huge fol­low­ing among Repub­li­cans in the field.

Ger­ald Ford, Nixon’s suc­ces­sor, re­warded Bush for his loy­alty by ask­ing him to name his next as­sign­ment. Bush said he wanted to head the US Li­ai­son Of­fice in Pek­ing, a diplo­matic mis­sion of 226 Amer­i­cans. He plunged into his new job with en­thu­si­asm, tak­ing Chi­nese lessons with his wife, bi­cy­cling all over the Chi­nese cap­i­tal and get­ting to know as many Chi­nese govern­ment of­fi­cials as pos­si­ble.

He stayed in the coun­try un­til De­cem­ber 1975, when Ford of­fered him the job of head­ing the CIA — “a real shocker” as Bush put it. The Se­nate con­firmed his ap­point­ment in Jan­uary 1976 af­ter se­cur­ing a promise from Ford that he would not se­lect Bush to be his run­ning mate in the rapidly ap­proach­ing pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

Bush took over the CIA at the worst mo­ment in its his­tory. Rev­e­la­tions of “dirty tricks” de­signed to top­ple for­eign lead­ers, and al­le­ga­tions of spy­ing on Amer­i­can ci­ti­zens aroused crit­i­cism from all quar­ters.

Yet the chal­lenge ex­cited Bush, who was soon draft­ing an ex­ec­u­tive or­der aimed at pre­vent­ing fur­ther abuses of power and keep­ing the agency’s ac­tiv­i­ties within the bounds of its man­date. He made a solid im­pres­sion at the CIA, win­ning a rep­u­ta­tion as a hard-work­ing boss who would stand by his peo­ple. There was deep dis­ap­point­ment at the agency when Jimmy Carter won the 1976 elec­tions and de­cided on a change at the top .

Bush re­turned to Texas in­tent on run­ning for the pres­i­dency in the 1980 elec­tion. He an­nounced his can­di­dacy in May 1979 and launched a barn­storm­ing elec­tion cam­paign that kept him on the road for 326 days of the fol­low­ing year. The mo­men­tum was dif­fi­cult to main­tain, how­ever, and Ron­ald Rea­gan’s band­wagon caught up in the pri­maries. Rea­gan’s vic­tory in Texas left Bush “stunned” and led him to with­draw from the nom­i­na­tion race.

He brushed aside sug­ges­tions that he should make him­self “avail­able” as a vice-pres­i­den­tial can­di­date. Yet he re­mained the se­cond most pop­u­lar Repub­li­can in the coun­try, and when Rea­gan’s first choice as run­ning mate, Ger­ald Ford, with­drew, Rea­gan turned to his erst­while ri­val.

Bush ac­cepted with alacrity, and proved the ideal part­ner for Rea­gan, his rel­a­tive youth bal­anc­ing Rea­gan’s age and his for­eign pol­icy ex­pe­ri­ence mak­ing up to some de­gree for Rea­gan’s skimpy knowl­edge of world af­fairs. In the Novem­ber elec­tion the Rea­gan-Bush ticket swept Carter and Mon­dale aside.

Rea­gan as­sured Bush and the Amer­i­can pub­lic that the vice-pres­i­dent would not “just go to fu­ner­als”, and was as good as his word. The two men es­tab­lished a friendly and ef­fi­cient work­ing re­la­tion­ship. Bush op­er­ated from a per­ma­nent of­fice in the West Wing of the White House, at­tended the daily na­tional se­cu­rity brief­ings presided over by the Pres­i­dent, met him for lunch once a week, and en­joyed ac­cess to all in­tel­li­gence.

He wel­comed Rea­gan’s de­ci­sion to ap­point as his chief of staff James Baker, a long-time Bush fam­ily friend, since it en­sured that his line of com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the Oval of­fice would al­ways be kept open. The Bush-Baker friend­ship en­dured into Bush’s own pres­i­den­tial term of of­fice when the White House chief be­came sec­re­tary of state.

In early March 1981 Bush was of­fered the post of “cri­sis man­ager”, co­or­di­nat­ing pol­icy when­ever do­mes­tic and for­eign emer­gen­cies arose, a task sought by Gen Alexan­der

‘Bush, a for­mer head of the CIA, had the ex­pe­ri­ence and tem­per­a­ment to re­spond to the col­lapse of the USSR’ ‘It was the easy-go­ing, mod­est side of his char­ac­ter that ap­pealed to Amer­i­cans’

Haig, the sec­re­tary of state, who was clearly ir­ri­tated at be­ing over­looked. Bush’s ap­ti­tude was put to the test al­most im­me­di­ately when, on March 30, 1981, Rea­gan was shot and wounded by a gun­man.

Bush was fly­ing to Texas at the time. He re­turned im­me­di­ately to Wash­ing­ton and took charge with quiet ef­fi­ciency, chair­ing cabi­net meet­ings and ful­fill­ing other pres­i­den­tial du­ties with­out any fuss or pom­pos­ity.

Re­fus­ing to move into the Oval Of­fice, he han­dled day-to-day busi­ness from his own quar­ters and presided at cabi­net meet­ings from his own chair, leav­ing Rea­gan’s re­spect­fully va­cant.

By the time Rea­gan re­turned to the White House, Bush’s sta­tus had grown per­cep­ti­bly. He be­came the pres­i­dent’s most trusted emis­sary, criss-cross­ing the world to ex­plain Amer­i­can de­fence strat­egy; by 1984 he had trav­elled 454,022 miles, vis­it­ing 48 US states, three Amer­i­can pos­ses­sions and 52 for­eign coun­tries.

Among those trips was a visit to Beirut, where he saw the ru­ins of the US Ma­rine camp in which 241 ser­vice­men had died af­ter a sui­cide at­tacker drove a truck-bomb into their midst. “We’re not go­ing to let a bunch of in­sid­i­ous ter­ror­ist cow­ards shape the for­eign pol­icy of the US,” he de­clared, some­what pre­ma­turely.

Bush re­mained staunchly loyal to Rea­gan even over eco­nomic pol­icy, in spite of his ear­lier op­po­si­tion to the pres­i­dent’s be­lief that the grow­ing deficit could be checked by cut­ting taxes.

He es­caped more or less un­scathed from the Iran-Con­tra af­fair, when money was fun­nelled to rebels in Nicaragua, claim­ing to have been “out of the loop”, and watched Rea­gan and Soviet Pres­i­dent Mikhail Gor­bachev reach solid agree­ments on dis­ar­ma­ment. Bush hoped to in­herit the fruits of the good work­ing re­la­tion­ship with Moscow at the end of Rea­gan’s se­cond term of of­fice in 1988, when he aimed to fol­low his leader into the White House.

The suc­ces­sion, how­ever, was by no means as­sured. Though con­sid­ered a front-run­ner for the Repub­li­can nom­i­na­tion, Bush came third in the cru­cial Iowa cau­cus, beaten by Sen­a­tor Bob Dole and the run­ner-up Pat Robert­son. But de­feat seemed to stir a killer in­stinct in Bush and, af­ter a bruis­ing cam­paign in which he un­leashed tele­vi­sion com­mer­cials that por­trayed Dole as a tax raiser, he re­bounded to win the nom­i­na­tion.

Then, as the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion loomed, he kept his head when, on the eve of the 1988 Repub­li­can Na­tional Con­ven­tion, he was found to be trail­ing the Demo­cratic nom­i­nee Michael Dukakis by 17 points.

A bril­liant ac­cep­tance speech-cum-call-to-arms, in which he made his ill-fated tax pledge, and a well-man­aged con­ven­tion, cat­a­pulted him ahead of Dukakis. He went on to de­mol­ish his op­po­nent with a fe­ro­cious cam­paign of hard­ball at­tacks and tele­vi­sion ad­ver­tise­ments which depicted him as a lib­eral ex­trem­ist “soft on crime”.

Hav­ing con­cen­trated on do­mes­tic is­sues to win the White House, how­ever, Bush chose to con­cen­trate on for­eign pol­icy once in­side.

He ad­mit­ted feel­ing most com­fort­able deal­ing with diplo­matic is­sues and, as the Iron Cur­tain fell and for­mer com­mu­nist states be­gan to em­brace democ­racy, he evoked an op­ti­mistic “New World Or­der” of demo­cratic states, an idea which re­ceived a fur­ther boost with the suc­cess­ful in­va­sion of Panama that de­posed Gen­eral Nor­iega, Amer­ica’s one-time ally, in De­cem­ber 1989.

His strate­gis­ing reached its zenith with the lib­er­a­tion of Kuwait, but not even the suc­cess of the Gulf War was free from tar­nish. As the smoke cleared, it be­came clear that Sad­dam Hus­sein was still in power and ca­pa­ble, more­over, of turn­ing his forces on mi­nori­ties within his own coun­try.

For af­ter the vic­tory of the in­ter­na­tional al­liance, Bush had ap­peared to en­cour­age Iraqis to rise up in re­volt and top­ple Hus­sein, a Sunni Mus­lim. But when they did so he made it clear that he would not risk the life of a sin­gle Amer­i­can sol­dier in sup­port of the aim.

So the West looked on as the Kurds of North Iraq fled from the wrath of Sad­dam, a man whom Bush had com­pared to Hitler, while many from the Shia pop­u­la­tions of Iraq’s south were herded up and killed.

It was only later, af­ter the 2003 in­va­sion of Iraq un­der Bush’s son, Ge­orge W Bush, that such cau­tion was seen to have been well-founded. He had not given the or­der to in­vade Iraq, he ex­plained in 1998, be­cause it would have “in­curred in­cal­cu­la­ble hu­man and po­lit­i­cal costs… We would have been forced to oc­cupy Bagh­dad and, in ef­fect, rule Iraq”.

Those words did not lessen the im­pact of the mass graves, found by Amer­i­can sol­diers in 2003, where the rebels of the 1991 up­ris­ing had been taken into the desert and shot.

Doubts about his fail­ure to oust Sad­dam Hus­sein were com­pounded by re­ces­sion. Hav­ing bro­ken his elec­tion pledge by sign­ing a bill to raise an ex­tra $140bn just be­fore vot­ers went to the polls in the midterm elec­tions in 1990, he cast about with in­creas­ing des­per­a­tion for tax cuts that might save his credit with mid­dle-class fam­i­lies, but a hos­tile Congress lim­ited his op­tions.

Af­ter leav­ing of­fice, Bush mostly re­tired from pub­lic life, spend­ing much of his time par­tic­i­pat­ing in busi­ness ven­tures and en­joy­ing his hob­bies of fish­ing, golf and ten­nis.

Af­ter his son Ge­orge W Bush was elected pres­i­dent in 2001, he kept a low pro­file, re­fus­ing to com­ment on the Gulf war and other con­tentious is­sues.

On a per­sonal level, it was the easy-go­ing, mod­est side of Bush’s char­ac­ter that ap­pealed to Amer­i­cans. A de­vout Epis­co­palian, he wor­shipped reg­u­larly and per­formed of­fi­cial du­ties in churches in Hous­ton and Ken­neb­unkport, Maine, where he al­ways took his sum­mer hol­i­days, play­ing golf or fish­ing from a row­ing boat.

Amer­i­cans rather liked the nick­name he had given him­self when­ever he holed a long putt on the golf course — “Mr Smooth” — and they for­gave him his in­hi­bi­tions (“I am not a very ar­tic­u­late emo­tion­al­ist,” he once con­fessed).

How­ever, the pop­u­lar im­age be­lied the in­tense drive and vigour that he brought to ev­ery task and the ruth­less­ness with which he saw off po­lit­i­cal op­po­nents. Re­cently he had been re­ly­ing a wheel­chair, but his con­sid­er­able re­serves of en­ergy were un­der­lined when he marked his 90th birth­day in June by mak­ing a tan­dem para­chute jump.

He em­braced the role of el­der states­man with aplomb, serv­ing with Bill Clin­ton as an hon­orary mem­ber of the board re­build­ing the World Trade Cen­tre af­ter the 2001 at­tacks. In 2005 the two men teamed up again to lead a na­tion­wide cam­paign to help vic­tims of the Asian tsunami and, later that year, to co­or­di­nate pri­vate re­lief dona­tions for the vic­tims of Hur­ri­cane Ka­t­rina.

The two be­came friends. In April 2007 they trav­elled to­gether to rep­re­sent their coun­try at the fu­neral of for­mer Rus­sian pres­i­dent Boris Yeltsin, and dur­ing the sen­sa­tional White House race of 2016 a solid ru­mour emerged that Bush’s pref­er­ence was for Hil­lary Clin­ton over the flam­boy­antly pop­ulist Repub­li­can can­di­date Don­ald Trump.

Ge­orge HW Bush’s wife Bar­bara died in April 2018; he is sur­vived by four sons and a daugh­ter.

PO­LIT­I­CAL DY­NASTY: Above, Lt Ju­nior Grade Ge­orge HW Bush is res­cued from the sea by the USS Fin­back af­ter his plane was shot down over the Pa­cific Ocean in Septem­ber 1944. Right, Ge­orge and his wife Bar­bara in 2012. She passed away in April this year. She first met Ge­orge when she was 16 and the cou­ple mar­ried three years later in 1945

VET­ERAN: Far left, with his son, Ge­orge W, in 2001; left, with Gar­ret FitzGer­ald in Dublin in 1983; right, on the Bush-Rea­gan cam­paign trail in 1980 with the orig­i­nal ‘Make Amer­ica Great Again’ poster; and below, with Bar­bara and Ron­ald and Nancy Rea­gan in 1988

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