Politicians, family react to the death of 41st president
George H.W. Bush, the 41st president of the United States, died Friday at 94, and the tributes and condolences quickly poured in online. From his family, including the 43rd president of the United States, to those who had disagreed with his politics, a surge of posts honored the man who served his country in more than 40 years of public service.
“After 94 remarkable years, our dear Dad has died,” former President George W. Bush said in a statement on behalf of his siblings. “George H.W. Bush was a man of the highest character and the best dad a son or daughter could ask for. The entire Bush family is deeply grateful for 41’s life and love, for the compassion of those who have cared and prayed for Dad, and for the condolences of our friends and fellow citizens.”
George P. Bush, a grandson who serves as the Texas land commissioner, lauded his grandfather for his dedication to his country and to his family.
“To me,” he said on Twitter, “he will always be Gampy. The man who taught me to fish in Maine, to throw a horseshoe and to swing a baseball bat lefty.”
The White House released a statement on behalf of President Donald Trump and the first lady, Melania Trump: “Melania and I join with a grieving nation to mourn the loss of former President George H.W. Bush.”
“With sound judgment, common sense, and unflappable leadership, President Bush guided our nation, and the world, to a peaceful and victorious conclusion of the Cold War,” the statement said.
Bush, a Republican, drew praise from both sides of the aisle, as Democrats and Republicans alike commended his commitment to service.
Former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, the former first lady, said in a statement that “George H.W. Bush’s life is a testament to the notion that public service is a noble, joyous calling. And he did tremendous good along the journey.”
And former President Jimmy Carter said Bush’s administration was “marked by grace, civility and social conscience.”
In a piece published in The Washington Post, former President Bill Clinton fondly recalled the letter he received from Bush, his predecessor, upon assuming office.
“There will be very tough times, made even more difficult by criticism you may not think is fair,” Bush wrote. “I’m not a very good one to give advice; but just don’t let the critics discourage you or push you off course.”
Despite their differences, Clinton said, he admired Bush’s accomplishments, calling their friendship “one of the great gifts of my life.”
Global leaders also paid their respects. Mikhail Gorbachev, the former president of the Soviet Union, called Bush a “true partner.”
“We had the opportunity to work together during the era of great changes,” Gorbachev said in a statement. “It was a dramatic period, which required everyone to be tremendously responsible. Its outcome was the end of the Cold War and the nuclear arms race.”
Theresa May, the British prime minister, described Bush as “a true friend” and “the trusted counterpart and confidant of two prime ministers.”
James Baker III, the former secretary of state and Bush’s closest adviser for nearly 50 years, noted the many ways his friend had served: a Navy pilot during World War II, a Texas congressman, a U.N. ambassador, director of the CIA, vice president — and finally, president.
“The legacy of George H.W. Bush will be forever etched in the history of America and the world,” he said in a statement, adding: “It was my pleasure and great joy to have had him as my special friend for more than 60 years.”
Condoleezza Rice, the former secretary of state for President George W. Bush, said in a statement the senior Bush was a mentor to her and a dear friend.