Former President George W. Bush says he told his father just before he died that he had been a “wonderful dad” and that he loved him. Delivering a eulogy at the elder Bush’s funeral on Wednesday, George W. Bush said his father’s “last words on earth were ‘I love you, too.'”
George W. Bush extolled his father not only for his service as president but also as a role model as a loving husband, father and grandfather.
Bush choked up at the end of his eulogy before regaining his composure. He patted his father’s flag-draped coffin twice as he went back to his seat at the Washington National Cathedral. Former first lady Laura Bush wiped her eyes with a tissue as her husband sat next to her.
Former Sen. Alan Simpson has hailed his old friend George H.W. Bush as man of humility, a commodity the Wyoming Republican says is rare in the capital.
At the Washington National Cathedral memorial service for the late president on Wednesday, Simpson said, “Those who travel the high road of humility in Washington, D.C., are not bothered by heavy traffic.”
Simpson recalled that once while he was under fire by the press, Bush told him to “wave to your pals over there in the media” as they passed photographers.
Simpson says Bush accepted a 1990 bipartisan budget deal that included a tax increase, despite his campaign pledge to not raise taxes. He says Bush said, “OK, go for it, but it will be a real punch in the gut.” Simpson says “his own party turned on him” for that, contributing to his 1992 re-election defeat.
Bush died last week in Houston at age 94.
Former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney has praised former U.S. President George H.W. Bush as a strong world leader who helped oversee the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union and was “responsible for the North American Free Trade Agreement” with Canada and Mexico.
With President Donald Trump, a sharp NAFTA critic, seated in the front row at Bush’s funeral, Mulroney said Wednesday the deal “created the largest and richest free trade area in the history of the world” and was “recently modernized and improved by new administrations.” Trump had called the trade deal unfair to the U.S. and moved to replace it.
Mulroney said Bush also deserves credit for the Americans with Disabilities Act and revising the Clean Air Act. He said, “There’s a word for this. It’s called leadership.”
Bush died last week in Houston at age 94.
Former President George W. Bush appeared to hand former first lady Michelle Obama something at his father’s funeral, recreating a moment from Sen. John McCain’s funeral earlier this year.
At McCain’s funeral, Bush and Obama were seatmates and he appeared to hand her something during a eulogy. The bipartisan moment went viral, and Obama later told NBC’s “Today” show Bush slipped her a mint.
On Wednesday, Bush dug into his pocket right before he shook the hands of the former presidents and their wives gathered for the funeral of his father, former President George H.W. Bush. He appeared to switch something into his right hand before he shook Mrs. Obama’s hand and then hand something to her. She smiled at him after the exchange.
Humor is creeping its way into the somber ceremony at the Washington National Cathedral to remember the life of former President George H.W. Bush.
Presidential historian Jon Meacham was the first speaker on Wednesday and said that on the primary campaign trail in New Hampshire once, Bush grabbed the hand of a department store mannequin while asking for votes. Meacham says when Bush realized his mistake he said, “Never know. Gotta ask.”
Meacham recounted how comedian Dana Carvey once said that the key to doing a perfect impersonation of the 41st president was “Mr. Rogers trying to be John Wayne.”
Looking ahead to the 1988 election, Bush once said: “It’s no exaggeration to say that the undecideds could go one way or the other.”
And Meacham said that late in his presidency, Bush’s tongue ran amok when he said: “We are enjoying sluggish times, but we’re not enjoying them very much.”
George H.W. Bush’s biographer is hailing the late president as a noble man who made the world better and inadvertently made it chuckle.
Historian Jon Meacham has told mourners at a Washington memorial service that Bush’s credo was, “Tell the truth, don’t blame people, be strong, do your best, try hard, forgive, stay the course.”
Meacham said Abraham Lincoln’s “better angels of our nature” and Bush’s thousand points of light are “companion verses in America’s national hymn.” Meacham says Bush “made our lives and the lives of nations freer, better, warmer and nobler.”
President Donald Trump has mocked the “points of light” phrase at some of his campaign rallies this year. He contrasted it with his own campaign slogan, saying “Putting America first, we understand. Thousand points of light, I never quite got that one.”
It’s an extraordinary scene inside the Washington National Cathedral, where former world leaders are mingling, waiting for a ceremony remembering former President George H.W. Bush to begin.
Former Presidents Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and Jimmy Carter are seated in a front-row pew.
President Donald Trump walked in and shook hands with Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama, who greeted him by saying “Good morning.” Trump did not shake hands with Bill and Hillary Clinton, who looked straight ahead.
Bill Clinton and Mrs. Obama smiled and chatted as music played. Carter is seated silently next to Hillary Clinton in the cavernous cathedral. Obama cracked up laughing at someone’s quip. Vice President Mike Pence shook Carter’s hand.