Gulf News

Bush hailed as last US ‘sol­dier-states­man’

FU­NERAL SEES REPUB­LI­CANS AND DEMOCRATS HON­OUR AMER­ICA’S 41ST PRES­I­DENT IN UN­USUAL BI­PAR­TI­SAN SPIRIT

- WASH­ING­TON

The late Pres­i­dent Ge­orge H.W. Bush was hailed at his state fu­neral yes­ter­day as a Sec­ond World War hero, Cold War vet­eran and ar­chi­tect of a US vic­tory against Iraq who went on to rep­re­sent a by­gone era of ci­vil­ity in Amer­i­can pol­i­tics.

Amid an un­usual bi­par­ti­san spirit at the ser­vice at in Wash­ing­ton, both Repub­li­can and Demo­cratic politi­cians hon­oured a pres­i­dent who called for a “kinder, gen­tler” na­tion.

Bush, the 41st US pres­i­dent, died last week in Texas aged 94. He oc­cu­pied the White House from 1989 to 1993, and nav­i­gated the col­lapse of the Soviet Union and ex­pelled for­mer Iraqi Pres­i­dent Sad­dam Hus­sain’s forces from oil-rich Kuwait.

“Ge­orge H.W. Bush was Amer­ica’s last great sol­dier­states­man,” Jon Meacham, a pres­i­den­tial bi­og­ra­pher, said in a eu­logy. “He stood in the breach in the Cold War against to­tal­i­tar­i­an­ism. He stood in the breach in Wash­ing­ton against un­think­ing par­ti­san­ship.”

The cap­i­tal’s cur­rent po­lit­i­cal feuds were briefly set aside in hon­our of the late pres­i­dent, a naval avi­a­tor who sur­vived be­ing shot down by Ja­panese forces over the Pa­cific Ocean in the Sec­ond World War, and for­mer head of the Cen­tral In­tel­li­gence Agency (CIA).

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump shook hands with his pre­de­ces­sor, for­mer Pres­i­dent Barack Obama, who he has of­ten sharply crit­i­cised, as he took his seat at the cathe­dral.

Demo­cratic for­mer Sec­re­tary of State Hil­lary Clin­ton, Trump’s 2016 elec­tion op­po­nent, and her hus­band Bill Clin­ton shared the front pew with Obama, Trump and their spouses.

Trump in­fu­ri­ated the late pres­i­dent by at­tack­ing his sons, for­mer Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush and Jeb Bush, one of Trump’s ri­vals in the 2016 Repub­li­can pri­mary cam­paign.

‘Char­ac­ter over pedi­gree’

Ge­orge W. Bush said his father “val­ued char­ac­ter over pedi­gree, and he was no cynic. He’d look for the good in each per­son, and he usu­ally found it. The best father a son or daugh­ter could ever have,” the for­mer pres­i­dent said in his eu­logy, his voice crack­ing with emo­tion.

The late pres­i­dent has been re­mem­bered as a pa­tri­cian fig­ure who rep­re­sented an ear­lier era of ci­vil­ity in Amer­i­can pol­i­tics.

He was voted out of of­fice in part for fail­ing to con­nect with or­di­nary Amer­i­cans dur­ing an eco­nomic re­ces­sion. But his rep­u­ta­tion for mod­er­a­tion and po­lite­ness has shone more brightly in re­cent years in light of the di­vi­sive­ness and anger in the US that ac­com­pa­nied the rise of Trump.

For­mer Cana­dian prime min­is­ter Brian Mul­roney lauded Bush’s role in han­dling the end of the Cold War and help­ing the tricky re­u­ni­fi­ca­tion of Ger­many.

“When Ge­orge Bush was pres­i­dent of the United States of Amer­ica, every sin­gle head of govern­ment in the world knew that they were deal­ing with a gen­tle­man, a gen­uine leader, one who was dis­tin­guished, res­o­lute and brave,” he said.

Bush put to­gether a US-led in­ter­na­tional coali­tion that ousted in­vad­ing Iraqi forces from Kuwait in 1991.

Trump tweeted yes­ter­day that he was “look­ing for­ward to be­ing with the Bush fam­ily. This is not a fu­neral, this is a day of cel­e­bra­tion for a great man who has led a long and dis­tin­guished life. He will be missed!”

All sur­viv­ing for­mer US pres­i­dents were at the cathe­dral along with their wives.

The guest list in­cluded Bri­tain’s Prince Charles and lead­ers of Ger­many, Jor­dan, Aus­tralia and Poland, along with a host of for­mer world lead­ers, such as for­mer Bri­tish PM John Ma­jor, who was in of­fice dur­ing Bush’s term.

 ?? AFP ?? Ge­orge H.W. Bush’s cas­ket de­parts the Capi­tol in Wash­ing­ton yes­ter­day. The for­mer pres­i­dent was re­mem­bered as a pa­tri­cian fig­ure who rep­re­sented an ear­lier era of ci­vil­ity in US pol­i­tics.
AFP Ge­orge H.W. Bush’s cas­ket de­parts the Capi­tol in Wash­ing­ton yes­ter­day. The for­mer pres­i­dent was re­mem­bered as a pa­tri­cian fig­ure who rep­re­sented an ear­lier era of ci­vil­ity in US pol­i­tics.
 ?? AFP ?? For­mer pres­i­dents, vice-pres­i­dents, first ladies and Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump at­tend the state fu­neral of for­mer pres­i­dent Ge­orge H.W. Bush at the Na­tional Cathe­dral in Wash­ing­ton.
AFP For­mer pres­i­dents, vice-pres­i­dents, first ladies and Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump at­tend the state fu­neral of for­mer pres­i­dent Ge­orge H.W. Bush at the Na­tional Cathe­dral in Wash­ing­ton.

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