Trump sets aside po­lit­i­cal dif­fer­ences to honor Bush

Houston Chronicle Sunday - - GEORGE H.W. BUSH: 1924-2018 - By Zeke Miller and Cather­ine Lucey

BUENOS AIRES, Ar­gentina — Don­ald Trump, the dis­rup­tive, anti-es­tab­lish­ment pres­i­dent who spent years de­rid­ing much of what Ge­orge H.W. Bush stood for, set aside dif­fer­ences in pol­i­tics and tem­per­a­ment Sat­ur­day to honor the iconic Amer­i­can and for­mer pres­i­dent a day af­ter his death.

Trump de­clared a day of na­tional mourn­ing and or­dered Amer­i­can flags to be flown at half-staff for 30 days to honor a man of “sound judg­ment, com­mon sense and un­flap­pable lead­er­ship.” The pres­i­dent and first lady Me­la­nia Trump added that Bush had “in­spired gen­er­a­tions of his fel­low Amer­i­cans to pub­lic ser­vice.”

Bush, who was pres­i­dent from 1989 to 1993, was 94.

The quar­ter-cen­tury since Bush left of­fice fea­tured his Repub­li­can Party’s steady march away from his steely prag­ma­tism and in­ter­na­tional part­ner­ship, cul­mi­nat­ing in the dra­matic break from long held GOP prin­ci­ples ush­ered by Trump’s elec­tion. The end of Bush’s pres­i­dency co­in­cided with the whole na­tion swing­ing to­ward more tribal pol­i­tics.

While Trump spoke gra­ciously, he has not al­ways been so kind to Bush or his fam­ily. He ran against one of Bush’s sons, Jeb Bush, in the 2016 GOP pres­i­den­tial pri­maries and was sharply crit­i­cal of the two-term pres­i­dency of an­other, Ge­orge W. Bush. Trump shat­tered the un­writ­ten norms of the Oval Of­fice oc­cu­pants’ small fra­ter­nity by keep­ing up crit­i­cism of the Bushes from the Capi­tol’s west wing.

The White House an­nounced Sat­ur­day that the Trumps would at­tend a state fu­neral for the for­mer pres­i­dent at the Wash­ing­ton Na­tional Cathe­dral.

The an­nounce­ment marked a rev­er­sal from ear­lier this year, when the pres­i­dent was point­edly not in­vited to the fu­neral of for­mer first lady Bar­bara Bush, the fam­ily ma­tri­arch and the late pres­i­dent’s wife of 73 years. Me­la­nia Trump at­tended in­stead.

The Trumps were in­formed of Bush’s death late Fri­day while in Buenos Aires, Ar­gentina, for the Group of 20 sum­mit of rich and de­vel­op­ing na­tions.

Trump said he spoke with for­mer Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush and for­mer Florida Gov. Jeb Bush to ex­press his sym­pa­thies. He praised the el­der Bush, who died Fri­day, as “a high-qual­ity man who truly loved his fam­ily.”

He re­fused to an­swer whether he had any re­grets over his past crit­i­cism of the Bushes. He did say that Bush’s death “re­ally puts a damper” on his par­tic­i­pa­tion at the sum­mit.

Trump also an­nounced that he has autho­rized the use of the iconic Boe­ing 747 pres­i­den­tial air­craft, known as Air Force One when­ever a pres­i­dent is on board, to trans­port Bush’s re­mains to Wash­ing­ton — a cus­tom­ary honor for for­mer pres­i­dents. Bush is to lie in state in the Capi­tol ro­tunda from Mon­day even­ing through Wed­nes­day morn­ing.

Trump also closed gov­ern­ment of­fices Wed­nes­day and des­ig­nated it as a na­tional day of mourn­ing, which tra­di­tion­ally oc­curs on the same day as the Wash­ing­ton com­po­nent of a late pres­i­dent’s state fu­neral. He en­cour­aged Amer­i­cans to gather in places of wor­ship “to pay homage” to Bush’s mem­ory, adding, “I in­vite the peo­ple of the world who share our grief to join us in this solemn ob­ser­vance.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.