Family, former colleagues and current lawmakers fondly recalled former President George H.W. Bush on Sunday as a kind and humble man who defied the label of a one-term president to leave a lasting mark on the country. Bush's former vice president, Dan ...
Family, former colleagues and current lawmakers fondly recalled former President George H.W. Bush on Sunday as a kind and humble man who defied the label of a one-term president to leave a lasting mark on the country.
Bush’s former vice president, Dan Quayle, former secretary of Defense, Dick Cheney, former secretary of State, James Baker and former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, Colin Powell, each appeared on multiple Sunday talk shows to share their memories of the 41st president, who died Friday at his home in Houston. He was 94.
“I thought he was a perfect American in terms how far he served the country in so many capacities — in Congress, as the envoy to China, in business,” Powell said on ABC’s “This Week.”
“You name it, he did it, and then he became vice president for eight years and then president of the United States,” he added. “But throughout that entire period he never forgot who he was. He never let it all go to his head. He was a man of great humility. He was humble."
“I think he was a perfect president,” Powell said.
Baker was longtime friends with Bush, and visited the former president at his home in his final hours.
“He kept his spirit and he kept his sense of humor right to the very end, but his passing … was very gentle and very peaceful,” Baker said on ABC.
Bush was the last president to serve in World War II. Following his military service, he held a vast array of government positions, both elected and appointed.
He served in Congress before taking the mantle as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. He went on to become the U.S. envoy to China and the director of the CIA before running on a ticket with former President Reagan.
“He was the most qualified person, with respect to foreign policy, ever to serve as president of the United States of America and he was able to demonstrate that for the four years of his service,” Powell said.
Bush was elected president in 1988, but lost his bid for a second term to former President Clinton in 1992. Clinton praised Bush’s “great long life of service, love, and friendship” on Saturday.
Bush’s foreign policy accomplishments were the subject of numerous anecdotes on Sunday as his former colleagues gushed over his handling of the end of the Cold War.
Cheney, who later served as vice president under Bush’s son, George W. Bush, praised George H.W. Bush’s "masterful" ability to balance numerous competing interests at the end of the Cold War.
“On the one hand, there was great temptation to move aggressively to make sure we controlled and maintained the enormous success of the collapse of the Soviet empire,” Cheney said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“On the other hand — and the president led the charge obviously, it was his call — but he did it in such a way and insisted that we do it in such a way that we were not unsympathetic to the political problems of … Mr. Gorbachev,” he continued, referring to the former Soviet leader. “And we could operate in such a way that would make it easier for [Gorbachev] to do what we wanted him to do.”
Cheney similarly credited Bush for his “superb” and “remarkable” leadership during the Gulf War.
Powell, who went on to become George W. Bush’s secretary of State, added that George H.W. Bush was driven by his experience in the military to avoid war whenever possible. He acknowledged the prominence of Desert Storm in Bush’s legacy, but argued the president had done all he could to avoid the conflict.
Quayle, Bush's vice president, ticked off a series of other areas where the 41st president oversaw progress, including the fall of the Berlin Wall, the end of apartheid in South Africa and a steady economy on the domestic front.
He was effusive in his praise of Bush as a person and a politician, saying on "Sunday Morning Futures" on Fox News that the 41st president loved "his family," "his work" and "the country."
"In my view his legacy ... was accomplishments," Quayle said. "He got things done."
Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerSunday show preview: Public figures pay tribute to George H.W. Bush Burr on Cohen guilty plea: ‘You cannot lie to Congress without consequences’ Hillicon Valley: Trade talks set up cyber clash | Google CEO set to testify next week | DOJ charges Iranians with hacking | Mnuchin suggests Twitter account was breached | Facebook expands local news feature MORE (D-Va.) called Bush a "class act" who recognized the importance of American leadership.
"He always knew that America was stronger with alliances, and the rest of the world looked to that American leadership in all those realms ... militarily, economically, but also morally, and I think it would be — all of us as we reflect on his legacy to remember that those lessons are still important for all of us to keep in mind."
Bush will lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda from Monday evening through Wednesday morning, at which point his body will be transported to the National Cathedral for a Wednesday service. President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump, Xi agree to 90-day tariff pause citing progress on trade disputes Trump ramps up airstrikes as Taliban peace talks remain elusive Trump’s new NAFTA faces uphill battle in Congress MORE has declared Wednesday a national day of mourning.
Bush's remains will be taken to Houston on Wednesday night, and will lie in repose at St. Martin's Episcopal Church. A funeral service will take place on Thursday and he will be laid to rest at the presidential library and museum at Texas A&M University.
George W. Bush is among those expected to deliver a eulogy of the 41st president.
The younger Bush told "60 Minutes" in an interview set to air Sunday night that his father taught him that "policy matters more than politics," and that people "ultimately respect leadership as opposed to followership."
He recalled delivering remarks at the National Cathedral following the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Bush said he was emotional and was unable to look at his parents or wife in the pews out of concern he'd break down.
Bush said he strode back to his seat after finishing, and felt his father pat him on the arm.
"It was very, very comforting," Bush said. "It was just a beautiful gesture."
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