Former First Lady Barbara Bush Dies At 92, Family And Others Pay Tribute
Barbara Bush, whose husband and son were both U.S. presidents, died Tuesday night at age 92 at her home in Houston.
Bush — the greatly respected wife of Republican former President George H.W. Bush and mother of George W. Bush — was treated in a hospital for pneumonia in December 2013. She received surgery for a perforated ulcer in 2008 and also underwent heart surgery shortly afterwards.
Family spokesman Jim McGrath announced her death in a statement, in which he added that she chose not to seek further medical treatment.
Statement by the Office of @GeorgeHWBush on the passing of Barbara Pierce Bush this evening at the age of 92. pic.twitter.com/c6JU0xy6Vc
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— Jim McGrath (@jgm41) April 17, 2018
Bush’s son George W., the 43rd president, remembered his mother fondly in an interview with Fox Business in Dallas on Wednesday.
“She was warm and wonderful to you — till you got out of line,” said the former president. “She was awesome.”
George Bush also revealed a joke his mother once told her doctor.
“You want to know why George W. is the way he is?” he said his mother asked her physician. “Because I drank and smoke while I was pregnant with him.”
The former president also said his mother believed in the afterlife, and that “she’ll be wonderfully received in the arms of the loving God.”
Barbara Bush is the only woman in U.S. history besides Abigail Adams to be both a First Lady and to have a son become president. Bush is also the mother of Jeb, who served as governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007 and unsuccessfully ran as a Republican for president in 2016.
After President Donald Trump mocked Jeb several times early in the 2016 election cycle, Barbara Bush fired back by calling out Trump for his sexism, his disrespectful comments about the military, and his overall cruelty.
Surprisingly, she was asked on the Today show in 2013 if she believed Jeb should run for president in 2016, and she said she didn’t think this was a good idea, as the Bush dynasty had already left its mark in leading the nation.
“There are other people out there that are very qualified, and we’ve had enough Bushes,” said Barbara.
Bush eventually changed her mind.
Although Barbara Bush rarely revealed her stances on major social or political issues, at least publicly, there were some causes that she ardently supported and made efforts to improve. Among these were literacy and civil rights.
Bush was also known for being very blunt, although her comments caused backlash in a few instances. While traveling to Houston, Texas, in 2005 to meet with victims of Hurricane Katrina who were seeking shelter in the Astrodome, she said several of the people “were underprivileged anyway” and that living in the stadium — despite the rough conditions — was “working very well for them.”
Barbara Bush’s remarks were widely regarded as offensive, on top of her son’s administration’s handling of the damage caused by the storm being severely criticized. George Bush’s approval rating following the hurricane was among the lowest of his eight years in office.
Former First Lady Laura Bush also praised her mother-in-law, and noted how much of an influence she was on her and her own daughters.
“She was a great role model for me, for sure. I learned how to be a first lady,” Laura Bush said on Fox Business. “She was really a wonderful grandmother to Barbara and Jenna.”
Jenna Bush Hager recently called her grandmother “a fighter.”
“She’s an enforcer. She reminded me not to believe everything you read, so we’re grateful for her, for everybody’s prayers and thoughts, and just know the world is better because she’s in it,” Bush Hager, a correspondent for NBC News, said on NBC’s Today show Monday. “We are grateful for her. She is the best grandma anybody could have ever had — or have.”
Here are other tributes to Barbara Bush, including from Bill and Hillary Clinton.
Our statement on the passing of Former First Lady Barbara Bush: pic.twitter.com/MhTVYCL9Nj
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) April 18, 2018
Barbara Bush was a remarkable woman. She had grit & grace, brains & beauty. She was fierce & feisty in support of her family & friends, her country & her causes. She showed us what an honest, vibrant, full life looks like. Hillary and I mourn her passing and bless her memory.
— Bill Clinton (@BillClinton) April 17, 2018
My dear mother has passed on at age 92. Laura, Barbara, Jenna, and I are sad, but our souls are settled because we know hers was. Barbara Bush was a fabulous First Lady and a woman unlike any other who brought levity, love, and literacy to millions. To us, she was so much more. Mom kept us on our toes and kept us laughing until the end. I’m a lucky man that Barbara Bush was my mother. Our family will miss her dearly, and we thank you all for your prayers and good wishes.
Rest In Peace Mrs. Barbara Bush.
You were a beautiful light in this world and I am forever thankful for your friendship. pic.twitter.com/yuZvQ7o8aH
— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) April 17, 2018
Our thoughts are with the Bush family as they grieve the loss of former first lady Barbara. She will forever be in our hearts. pic.twitter.com/b4EE4s2fIu
— Texas Rangers (@Rangers) April 18, 2018
Extending prayers for and condolences to the Bush family tonight on the passing of former First Lady of the United States, Bush family matriarch,wife of former President George H. W. Bush&mother of former President George W.Bush,Mrs. #BarbaraBush. May she rest in heavenly peace. pic.twitter.com/0i92ekOcWz
— Rev Jesse Jackson Sr (@RevJJackson) April 18, 2018
Barbara Bush served her country with class. She served her family with love and compassion. I’m grateful I knew her. And as an American, I’m grateful for her service. My heart goes out to her husband, children, great-grandchildren and the entire crew. A life beautifully lived. pic.twitter.com/WUuQgo8iBF
— Maria Shriver (@mariashriver) April 17, 2018
Thinking about Barbara Bush’s legacy of service to our country and the extraordinary family she raised. Thanking her for her many kindnesses to me and my family. Wishing her the comfort she deserves surrounded by her loved ones.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) April 16, 2018
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