While the nation was prepared for news of the death of former first lady Barbara Bush, whose family announced on Sunday that she would no longer accept medical treatment, the reaction from around the country Tuesday night was one of genuine sympathy for a woman known to speak her mind and be equally as self-deprecating. Here are some of the responses from U.S. leaders and people who knew and loved Bush.
President Donald J. Trump and first lady Melania Trump:
President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump join the Nation in celebrating the life of Barbara Bush. As a wife, mother, grandmother, military spouse and former First Lady, Mrs. Bush was an advocate of the American family. Amongst her greatest achievements was recognizing the importance of literacy as a fundamental family value that requires nurturing and protection.
Jean Becker, President George H.W. Bush’s chief of staff:
The former president is “broken-hearted…He held her hand all day today and was at her side when (she) left this good earth. Obviously, this is a very challenging time. But it will not surprise all of you who know and love him, that he also is being stoic and strong, and is being lifted up by his large and supportive family. He is determined to be there for them as well.
Former President George H.W. Bush:
I always knew Barbara was the most beloved woman in the world, and in fact I use to tease her that I had a complex about that fact. But the truth is the outpouring of love and friendship being directed at The Enforcer is lifting us all up. We have faith she is in heaven and we know life will go on—as she would have it. So cross the Bushes off your worry list.
Former President George W. Bush:
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.
Former Florida governor Jeb Bush:
Columba and I join every member of the Bush family in offering our sincere gratitude for the outpouring of love and support for my Mom in recent days, and throughout her remarkable life. I’m exceptionally privileged to be the son of George Bush and the exceptionally gracious, gregarious, fun, funny, loving, tough, smart, graceful woman who was the force of nature known as Barbara Bush. Thank you for your prayers, and we look forward to celebrating and honoring her life and contributions to our family and great nation in the coming days.
Former President Bill Clinton:
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.
Former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama:
Barbara Bush was the rock of a family dedicated to public service, and our thoughts and prayers are with both Presidents Bush and the entire Bush family tonight. We’ll always be grateful to Mrs. Bush for the generosity she showed to us throughout our time in the White House, but we’re even more grateful for the way she lived her life–as a testament to the fact that public service is an important and noble calling; as an example of the humility and decency that reflects the very best of the American spirit. She’ll be remembered for passing those American values on to her children, her grandchildren, her great-grandchildren–and to the countless citizens whom she and George inspired to become “points of light” in service to others.
U.S. senator John Cornyn:
Barbara has blessed this nation with her unwavering service, strong moral compass, and trademark sense of humor. Eternally devoted to her faith, family, and country, her legacy in promoting literacy will live on in the families she touched and young minds she helped cultivate. Sandy and I join Texans and the nation in prayer for the entire Bush family tonight.
U.S. senator Ted Cruz:
She was as much a public servant as her husband and children: traveling the world as advisor and ambassador, campaigning for adult literacy programs at home, and, of course, making George Senior eat his broccoli. Standing beside him through Congress, the UN, the CIA, and 12 years at the White House, Mrs. Bush approached her public role with a class and grace seldom matched in our nation’s capital.
Texas governor Greg Abbott:
Barbara Bush dedicated her life to helping others. As only the second woman in history to be both the wife and mother of U.S. presidents, Barbara had a unique and profound impact on our country.
Spearheading the fight against illiteracy, she created the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, working to improve the lives of those less fortunate through education. Her selfless devotion to service defines the inspiring legacy Barbara has left behind. Her impact on Texas and our nation will forever be treasured.
Cecilia and I extend our deepest condolences to President George H.W. Bush and the entire Bush family during this difficult time. We ask that all Texans join us in keeping them in their thoughts and prayers as they mourn the passing of a devoted wife, mother, and public servant.
Texas speaker Joe Straus:
My family has been blessed to call the Bushes our friends for decades, and we will remember Mrs. Bush as a person of tremendous resolve and fierce loyalty. She was equally strong and compassionate. We will also remember, and cherish, her wry wit and her sense of irreverence.
We have lost a national treasure. But we are enormously grateful for the life and the service of this extraordinary woman. Through the millions of lives she touched and through an incredible family that carries forward all that she taught them, the tremendous impact that Barbara Bush has made on this world will last for many lifetimes to come.