WASHINGTON — The Oval Office successors to former President George H.W. Bush, who died Friday, lauded his long career in government and mourned his passing.
“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, in his words, ‘a thousand points of light’ illuminating the greatness, hope, and opportunity of America to the world,” President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump said in a statement early Saturday.
The White House released the statement as people around the United States learned of the death of the country’s 41st president at the age of 94.
In addition to citing the posts in which the former president served the country, the statement from the Trumps cited his achievement in guiding the nation to a peaceful and victorious conclusion of the Cold War.
They also credited Bush for paving the way for a period of national economic well-being: “As President, he set the stage for the decades of prosperity that have followed.”
They also lauded the modesty he showed amid his achievements.
“And through all that he accomplished, he remained humble, following the quiet call to service that gave him a clear sense of direction,” the first couple said
In their statement, the first couple also said they “will remember President Bush for his devotion to family — especially the love of his life, Barbara.”
In a Twitter message, former president Barack Obama said America “has lost a patriot and humble servant.”
Obama also said the late president’s life “is a testament to the notion that public service is a noble, joyous calling.”
Americans’ hearts “are heavy today,” Obama said, but they “are also filled with gratitude,” adding that “our thoughts are with the entire Bush family” and also all who “were inspired by George and Barbara’s example.”
Former President Bill Clinton, who defeated Bush in the 1992 election, said, “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. I am grateful for every minute I spent with him and will always hold our friendship as one of my life’s greatest gifts.”
Clinton said he “will be forever grateful for the friendship we formed. From the moment I met him as a young governor invited to his home in Kennebunkport, I was struck by the kindness he showed to Chelsea, by his innate and genuine decency, and by his devotion to Barbara, his children, and their growing brood.”
In a written statement the late president’s son, former President George W. Bush, said his father “was a man of the highest character and the best dad a son or daughter could ask for.”
The statement, issued on behalf of the late president’s four sons and daughter, described the Bush family as “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.”
Other notable figures also praised Bush.
“I have often told my children ‘If you want a role model in your life — look to President George Herbert Walker Bush,’” said former vice president, Dan Quayle, as reported by NBC news. “The world mourns the loss of a great American. But, it also celebrates a life well lived.”
Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said in a tweet that the former president was “flying into the arms of the love of his life, Barbara.” He added that “each of us should take a minute to look up and offer him a silent thanks.”
Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor who ran as the Republican candidate for vice president in 2008, tweeted: “What a life … full of love of family … strong faith … nothing’s more important. God bless the Bush family at this sad time.”
Condoleezza Rice, who served George W. Bush as secretary of state, called George H.W. Bush the “epitome of a public servant,” saying that “he loved America with all of his heart and served her as fully and completely as anyone ever has.”