- Former President George H.W. Bush died on Friday, November 30, at age 94.
- George W. Bush, Barack Obama, former first lady Michelle Obama, and others reacted to the 41st president's death, and offered remembrances of his duty and public service.
Former president George H.W. Bush died on Friday, November 30, at age 94.
Former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and the former first lady Michelle Obama are among the Washington heavyweights who reacted to the 41st president's death and offered remembrances of his duty and public service.
As news of Bush's death spread across the world, international leaders in and outside of politics, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, former Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev, the Dalai Lama, and Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook also spoke fondly of Bush's time as a leader.
Former President George W. Bush
"Jeb, Neil, Marvin, Doro, and I are saddened to announce that after 94 remarkable years, our dear dad has died," the statement from H.W. Bush's son and fellow former president read. "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."
Former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama
"America has lost a patriot and humble servant in George Herbert Walker Bush," the statement from the Obamas said. "While our hearts are heavy today, they are also filled with gratitude. Not merely for the years he spent as our forty-first President, but for the more than 70 years he spent in devoted service to the country he loved - from a decorated Naval aviator who nearly gave his life in World War II, to Commander-in-Chief of our Armed Forces, with plenty of posts along the way. Ambassador to the United Nations. Director of Central Intelligence. U.S. Envoy to China. Vice President of the United States."
"After seventy-three years of marriage, 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 example of a man who, even after commanding the world's mightiest military, once said 'I got more of a kick out of being one of the founders of the YMCA in Midland, Texas back in 1952 than almost anything I've done,'" the statement continued.
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump
"Melania and I join with a grieving Nation to mourn the loss of former President George H.W. Bush, who passed away last night," President Trump and the first lady said in a statement.
"Through his essential authenticity, disarming wit, and unwavering commitment to faith, family and country, President Bush inspired generations of his fellow Americans to public service — to be hin his words, 'a thousand points of light' illuminating greatness, hope, and opportunity of American to the world," the statement continued.
Former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
"Hillary and I mourn the passing of President George H.W. Bush, and give thanks for his great long life of service, love, and friendship," the statement read.
"I will be forever grateful for the friendship we formed," the Clinton's statement continued. "From the moment I met him as a young governor invited to his home in Kennebunkport, I was struck by the kind ess he showed to Chelsea, by his innate genuine decency, and by his devotion to Barbara, his children, and their growing brood."
Former Vice President Dan Quayle, who served as President George H.W. Bush's vice president.
"As so many Americans did, I had true affection for the man George Bush," the former vice president said in a statement. "He was a completely genuine, decent, and honorable person. What's more, he went into and out of the office as absolutely the same man. I think that exemplifies his character. I have often told my children, 'If you want a role model in your life — look to President George Herbert Walker Bush.' The world mourns the loss of a great American. But it also celebrates a life well lived."
Former Vice President Al Gore
"President George H.W. Bush served our nation with extraordinary integrity and grace," former Vice President Gore said in a statement. "I will remember him for his personal kindness and for his love of this country. He earned bipartisan respect for speaking up and taking action for what he believed was right, even when doing so was unpopular. He inspired countless Americans to volunteer and improve their communities through his Points of Light Foundation. President Bush leaves behind an American legacy of a lifetime of service that will be revered for generations."
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
Abe said he's "deeply saddened" by Bush's passing, and praised him in a statement that recalled Bush's role in ending the Cold War with the Soviet Union and taking leadership in the Gulf War.
He said, "Bush accomplished historic, great achievements by contributing to peace and stability of the international community."
The Associated Press reported that during his four-year presidency, Bush visited Japan twice and played tennis with Emperor Akihito. Abe says that "hugely" contributed to further enhancing amicable Japan-U.S. relations.
Former President Jimmy Carter
"Rosalynn and I are deeply saddened by the death of former President George H.W. Bush. His administration was marked by grace, civility, and social conscience. Through his Points of Light initiative and other projects, he espoused a uniquely American volunteer spirit, fostering bipartisan support for citizen service and inspiring millions to embrace community volunteerism as a cherished responsibility."
"We again extend our heartfelt condolences to the Bush family."
Russian President Vladimir Putin
Putin addressed remarks of condolence to Bush's son, former President George W. Bush.
"Dear George, please accept my deepest condolences over the passing of your father, former U.S. President, George Herbert Walker Bush," Putin said in a statement posted on the Kremlin's website. "An outstanding politician, he devoted his entire life to serving his country, both as a serviceman during wartime and in high-ranking public posts in peacetime. As U.S. president during one of the most important periods of world history, he showed political wisdom and foresight, and always sought balanced decisions even in the most difficult situations.
"George Bush Sr. was well aware of the importance of a constructive dialogue between the two major nuclear powers and took great efforts to strengthen Russian-American relations and cooperation in international security. I had the good fortune to have met with him several times. I recall with particular warmth him organizing our meeting at your wonderful summer home in Kennebunkport.
"My fellow citizens and I will always cherish the memory of George Bush Sr. In this sad time, I would like to pass worlds of heartfelt sympathy and support to all members of your large family. May you have endurance during this time of grievous and tragic loss."
British Prime Minister Theresa May
May said in a statement that Bush was "a great statesman and a true friend of our country" whose "ethos of public service was the guiding thread of his life and an example to us all."
May added: "in navigating a peaceful end to the Cold War he made the world a safer place for generations to come."
The Dalai Lama
"He was in fact the first American President that I was privileged to meet. I recall being deeply touched by your father's concern for the Tibetan people and the situation in Tibet. It is truly admirable to have lived over 94 years. While nothing can replace the loss of a father, we can rejoice in the fact that his was a meaningful life, dedicated to public service. I commend your parents for encouraging their children, including you my dear friend, to devote yourselves to the service of others."
"It was with sadness that I learned of the death of President George H.W. Bush last night. 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. 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."
Former Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev
Gorbachev expressed his "deep condolences" to the Bush family and all Americans after the former president's death.
"I have a lot of memories associated with this person," Gorbachev said of Bush, with whom he worked closely in the late 1980s and 1990s. "We had a chance to work together during the years of tremendous changes. It was a dramatic time that demanded great responsibility from everyone. The result was an end to the Cold War and the nuclear arms race."
Gorbachev added: "I pay tribute to the contribution of George H. W. Bush to this historic achievement. He was a real partner."
Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook
"We have lost a great American," Cook said on Twitter. "Service defined President George H.W. Bush's life, and he taught all of us about leadership, sacrifice and decency. We send our deepest sympathies to the Bush family."
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern
Ardern acknowledge in a statement early Saturday "the contribution President Bush made to international affairs over decades of service to the United States of America."
She said Bush's "statesmanship played a key role in helping to end the Cold War, which bought democracy to millions of people in Europe and diminished the threat of nuclear war. George H.W. Bush was a strong supporter of the international rules-based system, the rule of law and democratic values."
EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker
"The world has lost a statesman and a leader who was an example to us all. I personally have lost a friend," Juncker said in a statement. "I will never forget the role he played in making Europe a safer and more united place following the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain."
Juncker added: "President Bush's calmness, leadership and close personal relationships with Helmut Kohl and Mikhail Gorbachev were decisive in restoring peace and freedom back to so many people across our Continent. We Europeans will forever remember this."
Juncker praised Bush for always serving his country "with honor, bravery and dignity" and said "I personally have lost a friend."
Justin Trudeau and Sophie Gregoire Trudeau
"George H. W. Bush's exemplary service and deep commitment to his country informed everything he accomplished over his decades in public life," Trudeau wrote on Twitter. "Sophie and I offer our condolences to his family and the American people on his passing."
French President Emmanuel Macron
"On behalf of the French people, I convey all my condolences to the American nation for the loss of former President George Bush. He was a world leader, who strongly supported the alliance with Europe. Our sympathy to his family and beloved ones."
Former FBI Director James Comey
Comey recalled a quote about American morals from Bush: "Remembering the wisdom of a great American leader: 'America is never wholly herself unless she is engaged in high moral principle. We as a people have such a purpose today. It is to make kinder the face of the nation and gentler the face of the world.' George H. W. Bush."
House Speaker Paul Ryan
"George H.W. Bush was a man for all seasons: a war hero, statesman, and affectionate family man," Ryan wrote on Twitter alongside a formal statement. "In our sadness today, we express our deepest condolences to the Bush family. We give thanks to God for the life of this patriot."
German Chancellor Angela Merkel
In a note to President Donald Trump, Merkel wrote that America lost "a great patriot and statesman," the Associated Press reported.
"The German people had in him a true friend who recognized the significance of this historic hour and gave us his trust and support," Merkel said, adding that "the courageous and peaceful revolution by people east of the Iron Curtain met with the courage and skill and of a statesman who, together with others, led Europe and the trans-Atlantic partnership through this upheaval and ushered in a new era."
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair
"President Bush was an extraordinary and exemplary public servant. A man dedicated to his country, the values it stands for at its best and to making the world better, more stable and more peaceful. He occupied the office of president with dignity and purpose. He was a great friend and ally to Britain, a supporter of the Transatlantic Alliance and a huge influence in the development of Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall. My deepest sympathies and condolences go to the Bush family at this time."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
"On behalf of the people of Israel, I send heartfelt condolences to the Bush family and the American people on the passing of a great American patriot, President George H.W. Bush," Netanyahu tweeted.
"His wise leadership at the end of the Cold War helped steer the world to a peaceful transition and the spread of democracy. The people of Israel will always remember his commitment to Israel's security, his important contribution to the liberation of Soviet Jewry, and his efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East at the Madrid Conference."