George HW Bush death: Politicians and family pay tribute to former president

Republicans and Democrats praise 41st president of United States who led country at the end of the Cold War

Conrad Duncan
Saturday 01 December 2018 13:35 GMT
Former US President George Bush Sr diesaged 94

Figures on both sides of the US political divide have paid tribute to former president George HW Bush following his death on Friday.

Bush, who was 94, served as vice president to Ronald Reagan for eight years and as the 41st president of the United States from 1989 to 1993.

Tributes were led by members of the Bush family, who praised his “compassion” and service to his country.

George W Bush, who followed in his father’s footsteps to become the 43rd president of the United States, said he was “a man of the highest character and the best dad a son or daughter could ask for”.

Jeb Bush, a former Governor of Florida who ran for president in 2016, said: “His leadership taught us to be kinder and gentler, to love each other. We will miss him dearly.”

His grandson, George P Bush, the oldest son of Jeb Bush, described him as “the greatest man I ever knew”.

“His courage was matched by his compassion; and his dedication to country was equalled only by his devotion to his family,” he added.

George HW Bush was a member of four generations of elected officials from the Bush family, beginning with Prescott Bush, who was elected as the senator for Connecticut in 1952.

President Trump and first lady Melania Trump released a statement highlighting Bush’s part in bringing the Cold War to an end in 1991.

“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,” Mr Trump added.

His words were echoed by other former presidents and politicians from both the Republican and Democratic Party.

Bill Clinton, who defeated Bush in the 1992 presidential election, said in a joint statement with Hillary Clinton: “Hillary and I mourn the passing of President George HW Bush, and give thanks for his great long life of service, love, and friendship.

“Few Americans have been – or will ever be – able to match President Bush’s record of service to the United States and the joy he took every day from it.”

Barack Obama said America had “lost a patriot and humble servant” with his death.

“George HW Bush’s life is a testament to the notion that public service is a noble, joyous calling,” he added, praising the former president’s handling of the Gulf War and his diplomacy during the end of the Cold War.

Republican Senator Jeff Flake said the country owed “a debt of gratitude for his honourable and humble service to the nation, and for his enduring example of kindness.”

While Democrat Beto O’Rourke praised Bush for making public service “about country, and America’s responsibility in the world, less about party.”

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A US Navy pilot during the Second World War who later built a fortune in the oil industry, Bush began his career in political office as a congressman in Texas’ 7th district in 1967.

Current Governor of Texas Greg Abott said the state “mourns the loss of one of our greatest Presidents”.

“On behalf of the Lone Star State, we offer our thoughts and prayers to the entire Bush family,” he added.

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