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- Former President George H.W. Bush died last Friday.
- Republicans, Democrats, and world leaders have shown their support for Bush in the days since.
When former President George H.W. Bush died on Friday, other former presidents, members of Congress, and world leaders honored him in their own words. Here are some of the individuals’ statements on Bush’s life and legacy.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke on Monday at the ceremony for Bush as his casket entered the US Capitol to lie in state.
“He kept us on course with his even temperament and hard-won expertise. George Herbert Walker Bush steered this country as straight as he steered that airplane,” McConnell said, noting Bush’s service during World War II. “He kept us flying high and challenged us to fly higher still. And he did it with modesty and kindness that would have been surprising in someone one-tenth as tough and accomplished as he was.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who served in Congress during Bush’s presidency, honored the late president in a statement after his death, calling him “a gentleman of the highest integrity and deepest patriotism.
“It was a privilege to work with him and witness his firm commitment to ensuring America lived up to our Founders’ promise of hope and freedom,” she said.
“President Bush profoundly believed in the power of ordinary Americans to make a difference. His belief in a ‘kinder, gentler’ America encouraged people to embrace the spirit of service and encouraged them to share his vision of ‘a thousand points of light.'” Pelosi added. “We will all remember his great humility, unwavering compassion, deep faith and extraordinary kindness in and out of the political arena.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan also addressed the Bush family and others in attendance at the ceremony on Monday, calling Bush a “great patriot.”
“He made monumental contributions to freedom with a fundamental decency that resonates across generations,” Ryan said. “No one better harmonized the joy of life and the duty of life.”
“There is that indelible image of him as commander-in-chief during the Gulf War waving to a sea of troops during a visit over Thanksgiving,” he added. “There are the images of him as a devoted husband—that twinkle in his eye Barbara always brought out—especially in those big family photos in Kennebunkport. There is the image of him as a loving father reaching out to hold his son’s hand at the National Cathedral after 9/11.”
Queen Elizabeth wrote a message addressed to President Donald Trump and the American people following Bush’s death.
“President Bush was a great friend and ally of the United Kingdom. He was also a patriot, serving his country with honour and distinction in Office and during the Second World War,” she wrote. “Prince Philip and I remember our days in Texas in 1991 with great fondness.
My thoughts and prayers are with President Bush’s family and the American people.”
Vice President Mike Pence spoke at the US Capitol ceremony for Bush on Monday, speaking highly of the former commander-in-chief’s patriotism and life of service.
“He served during an uncertain time in the world, made momentous by his leadership. President Bush oversaw the fall of the Soviet Union, the crumbling of the Berlin Wall, and under his leadership, America won the Cold War,” Pence said. “He took our nation to war to repel aggression in the Persian Gulf and, through his leadership as Commander-in-Chief and the brilliance of our armed forces, the United States won a decisive victory.”
“When President George Herbert Walker Bush left office, he left America and the world more peaceful, prosperous, and secure,” he added.
Barack and Michelle Obama
In a joint statement following Bush’s death on Friday, former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama said Bush’s life is a “legacy of service that may never be matched, even though he’d want all of us to try.”
“What a testament to the qualities that make this country great. Service to others. Commitment to leaving behind something better,” they added. “Sacrifice in the name of lifting this country closer to its founding ideals. Our thoughts are with the entire Bush family tonight — and all who were inspired by George and Barbara’s example.”
Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union and the man who worked with Bush during the end of the Cold War and nuclear arms race, said in a statement that “many of my memories are linked to him,” according to Russia’s Interfax news agency.
“We happened to work together in years of great changes. It was a dramatic time demanding huge responsibility from everyone,” Gorbachev added. “The result was the end of the Cold War and the nuclear arms race. I pay tribute to George Bush’s contribution towards this historic achievement. He was a genuine partner.”