The Latest: Trump: Barbara Bush a ‘titan in American life’

April 19, 2018 GMT
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FILE - In this 1990 file photo, first lady Barbara Bush poses with her dog Millie in Washington. A family spokesman said Tuesday, April 17, 2018, that former first lady Barbara Bush has died at the age of 92. (AP Photo/Doug Mills, File)
1 of 11
FILE - In this 1990 file photo, first lady Barbara Bush poses with her dog Millie in Washington. A family spokesman said Tuesday, April 17, 2018, that former first lady Barbara Bush has died at the age of 92. (AP Photo/Doug Mills, File)

HOUSTON (AP) — The Latest on former first lady Barbara Bush (all times local):

6:28 p.m.

President Donald Trump is praising former first lady Barbara Bush as a “wonderful, wonderful person” and a “titan in American life.”

Trump says her presence and character were engraved into America’s identity and her strength and toughness embodied the nation’s spirit.

He noted her tireless advocacy for literacy, along with her patriotism and “profound faith.”

Mrs. Bush, who was the wife and mother of two presidents, died Tuesday. She was 92.

First lady Melania Trump plans to attend the former first lady’s funeral Saturday in Houston.


Trump did not say whether he would also attend. He commented as he opened a news conference in Florida with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.


4:12 p.m.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush told a forum held outside Chicago that his mother would have wanted him to attend because he made a commitment.

Speaking Wednesday at Elmhurst College Governmental Forum, Bush said of former first lady Barbara Bush that he was “so blessed to be her son.”

Barbara Bush, the wife of former U.S. President George H.W. Bush, died Tuesday at age 92.

Jeb Bush said he could still feel her presence behind him, saying ”‘You said you were only going to speak 30 minutes so make sure you don’t go beyond that.’”

Bush said his mother taught the family to be civil. “She taught us to love your family with your heart and soul.”

He finished his comments about his mother with, “I love her dearly.”

Jeb Bush talked about leadership in a changing world during the forum.


4 p.m.

The U.S. Navy says former first lady Barbara Bush treated sailors “like her own family” on the USS George H. W. Bush aircraft carrier.

Navy officials said in statement Wednesday that she visited the ship multiple times. It was commissioned in 2009 and named after her husband, who was a naval aviator during World War II.

Vice Admiral DeWolfe Miller was the carrier’s original commanding officer. He says Barbara Bush’s “sharp wit, humor and sincere love for those who served on her ‘favorite’ ship was clearly apparent.”

Miller said he’ll never forget Barbara Bush “donning a chef’s hat and handing out cookies, with a big smile and kind message to each sailor she met.”

As first lady, she also christened the USS George Washington aircraft carrier.

Both ships are flying their flags at half-mast to honor Barbara Bush, who died Tuesday at age 92.



2:40 p.m.

Former President George W. Bush says his mother was joyful and still teasing him the day before she died.

Bush spoke warmly of his mother during a leadership forum Wednesday as his presidential library in Dallas. His mother, former first lady Barbara Bush, died a day earlier at her Houston home. She was 92.

The 43rd president told the audience that the day before his mother died, he told her during a phone conversation that she’d been a “fabulous mother” and that he loved her dearly. He says she responded by telling him: ”‘I want you to know that you’re my favorite son — on the phone.’”

Bush told audience members he hoped they didn’t feel sorry for him. He says he’s at peace with his mother’s death because his mother “was at peace.” He says she believed in an afterlife and “was joyously looking forward” to it.


1:35 p.m.

Officials say former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton and their wives plan to attend funeral services for former first lady Barbara Bush.

The wife and mother of former presidents died Tuesday. She was 92.

Bill Clinton dashed Mrs. Bush’s husband’s re-election hopes en route to winning the 1992 election. Clinton since grew close to former President George H.W. Bush and Barbara, and would visit them at their summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine. Clinton often joked he spent so much time with the Bushes that he’d become like a member of the family.

Former first ladies Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama will accompany their husbands to Saturday’s funeral in Houston.


1:15 p.m.

Former President George H.W. Bush says he’s always known and would tease his wife that she was “the most beloved woman in the world” and that he “had a complex about that fact.”

In a statement released by Bush family spokesman Jim McGrath, the nation’s 41st president says the outpouring of love and friendship to Barbara Bush following her death Tuesday “is lifting us all up.”

He also referred Wednesday to Barbara Bush as “The Enforcer,” a term of endearment bestowed by her family.

Bush says he has faith his wife “is in heaven, and we know life will go on — as she would have it.”

He adds: “So cross the Bushes off your worry list.”


12:29 p.m.

Queen Elizabeth II and British Ambassador Sir Kim Darroch have sent messages of condolences to the Bush family.

British embassy spokesman Andrew Overton says Wednesday that Darroch also issued a statement that said the U.K. government is “deeply saddened” by the loss of Barbara Bush, who died Tuesday at 92. Darroch said as one of only two women to be the wife of one U.S. president and the mother of another, “Barbara Bush was a very special person in American history.”

Darroch said the wife of former President George H.W. Bush will be “remembered for her care and compassion for her fellow Americans, for her unfailing efforts to promote literacy, and for her devotion to her family. A great orator, widely admired and dedicated to public service, she will be dearly missed.”


10:11 a.m.

Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, whose last years in office overlapped the Bush presidency, is remembering Barbara Bush as warm and astute.

In a statement of condolence to the Bush family on Wednesday, Gorbachev said: “I am deeply saddened by the death of Barbara, and on this day I remember everything was connected with us, our numerous meetings. Barbara did a lot to build trust and friendship between us. She immediately developed a warm relationship with Raisa, they communicated easily and at ease ”

Barbara Bush, the wife of former U.S. President George H.W. Bush, died Tuesday at 92.


9:39 a.m.

Jenna Bush Hager’s father-in-law, former Virginia Lt. Gov. John Hager, remembers former first lady Barbara Bush as a “marvelous woman.”

Hager tells the Richmond Times-Dispatch (https://bit.ly/2EUx8BD) that Bush “was a real matriarch in every sense of the word.”

Barbara Bush, the wife of former U.S. President George H.W. Bush, died Tuesday at 92.

Jenna Bush Hager, the Bush’s granddaughter, is married to Henry Hager.

John Hager says Barbara Bush “was real friendly to us and could not have been a better hostess,” noting that the Bush family was down-to-earth and welcoming.

Hager added: “She was always very gracious to us. I think they liked Henry and that was the end of it. They’ve been great to us ever since.”


9:22 a.m.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed condolences to George H.W. Bush following the death of his wife, Barbara.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday that Putin sent a telegram to the former president offering his condolences.

Barbara Bush died Tuesday at 92.


9:05 a.m.

The White House says Melania Trump will attend the funeral for former first lady Barbara Bush.

Stephanie Grisham, a spokeswoman for the current first lady, says Mrs. Trump will pay her respects to the entire Bush family at the ceremony Saturday in Houston.

In a statement following Bush’s death Tuesday, Melania Trump praised her 92-year-old predecessor for putting her “family and country above all else.”

Trump says Bush was a woman of strength who will always be remembered for her roles as wife, mother and first lady.

The White House says U.S. flags at the president’s home and private golf club in Florida have been lowered to half-staff in honor of the former first lady.


8:10 a.m.

Former President George W. Bush says his mother, Barbara Bush, did not fear death because she believed in an afterlife and that she would be “wonderfully received in the arms of a loving God.”

The former president appeared Wednesday with his wife Laura Bush on the Fox Business Network. He says his mother “was warm and wonderful, until you got out of line.”

Barbara Bush, the wife of former President George H.W. Bush, died Tuesday at 92.

George W. Bush says that during a recent visit with his mother, she told her doctor that her son “is the way he is” because she “drank and smoked when (she) was pregnant with him.”

Laura Bush says her mother-in-law had long supported literacy campaigns and believed “if everyone could read and write, a lot of problems would be solved.”


7:45 a.m.

The ruler of Kuwait is mourning the death of Barbara Bush, whose husband the Arab nation has long celebrated for securing its freedom from Iraqi occupation in the 1991 Gulf War.

State-run news agency KUNA reported Wednesday that Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah sent letters of condolence to former President George H.W. Bush and his son, former President George W. Bush. The letter describes Barbara Bush as a person “who enjoyed a life of love and admiration from the American people.”

State-affiliated newspaper Al Anbaa published an appreciation of the former first lady online with the headline: “Barbara Bush: First Lady Who Knew about the Kuwait Liberation Zero Hour.” It highlights her 1993 and 2001 visits to Kuwait, where she was warmly received by dignitaries and Kuwaiti women.


1:15 a.m.

Presidents, first ladies and many others who knew Barbara Bush are praising her devotion to the nation, her family and literacy.

President Donald Trump said among Mrs. Bush’s greatest achievements “was recognizing the importance of literacy as a fundamental family value that requires nurturing and protection.”

He said, “She will be long remembered for her strong devotion to country and family, both of which she served unfailingly well.”

Former President Barack Obama said Mrs. Bush lived her life “as a testament to the fact that public service is an important and noble calling.”

Family spokesman Jim McGrath said Mrs. Bush died Tuesday at age 92. She had decided to decline further medical treatment for health problems and focus instead on “comfort care” at home in Houston.