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Politicians and family react to George Bush's death

Politicians and family react to George Bush's death

"I will always hold our friendship as one of my life's greatest gifts"
Politicians and family react to George Bush's death
President Barack Obama onstage with former President George H.W. Bush at an event in Texas, Oct. 16, 2009.
Photographer: Doug Mills/The New York Times

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.

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“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. “As president, he set the stage for the decades of prosperity that have followed. And through all that he accomplished, he remained humble, following the quiet call to service that gave him a clear sense of direction.”

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.”

Former President Bill Clinton tweeted: “I am grateful for every minute I spent with him and will always hold our friendship as one of my life’s greatest gifts.”

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Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., called Bush “a class act,” and Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., said, “We all owe a debt of gratitude for his honorable and humble service to the nation, and for his enduring example of kindness.”

James A. 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.”

Bush was also honored in Texas, where he lived for decades. Sylvester Turner, the mayor of Houston, called him a “great Houstonian” and “one of our most esteemed and relatable neighbors,” and students at Texas A&M University held a candlelight vigil on campus.

Celebrities — even those who said they did not agree with Bush’s politics — were also among those who offered their condolences.

Bush died less than eight months after his wife of 73 years, Barbara Bush.

“George and Barbara Bush are together again now, two points of light that never dimmed, two points of light that ignited countless others with their example,” the Obamas said in their statement.

The daughters of former President Richard Nixon, Tricia Nixon Cox and Julie Nixon Eisenhower, expressed a similar sentiment.

“While people everywhere salute and thank George H.W. Bush today,” they said, “we take special solace in knowing that President and Mrs. Bush are together again.”

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