As the late President George H.W. Bush is remembered and eulogized this week, there is one word that writers, former staffers, and pundits repeatedly use in talking about him: unity.
Bush, who died at home in Texas on Friday night at 94, personified the word unity.
He understood there was a time for politics, a time for governing, and a time for reflection. He was a fighter, but when the fight was over, he had the keen ability to move forward and become friends with former foes.
One of the most remarkable bonds he forged was with former President Bill Clinton, who held Bush to one term after beating him in the 1992 Presidential election. Bush expected to win right up until the end.
In later years, Clinton and 41 played golf together and even jointly attended the funeral of Pope John Paul II in Rome. It was a sign of unity. Clinton visited Bush at his seaside home in Maine.
Their friendship is chronicled eloquently in the 2012 book, “The Presidents Club,” by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy, about the surprising alliances, mentorships, and rivalries that have existed between living U.S. presidents after they’ve left office. “No relationship is quite like the bond between George H.W. Bush and the man who defeated him in 1992,” they wrote. “Bush would go so far as to suggest more than once that he might be the father that Clinton had always lacked—a notion that the younger man did not dispute.”
And, then there was Bush’s relationship with Donald Trump. As a father, Bush watched and listened as Trump belittled and berated one of his son’s, former Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush, during the 2016 campaign. Father Bush was so upset he crossed party lines to vote for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
Back in July, Trump mocked a signature quote by the 41st president about a “thousand points of light,” which was later used as the name of his charity.
Despite the animosity between the Bush family, some of whom say Trump’s words and actions still sting, and President Donald Trump, the 41st president made it abundantly clear he wanted America’s current leader to be at the funeral, putting the institution of the presidency above personal animosities, according to CNN.
One last sign of unity and of uniting the country.
The ex-commander-in-chief is lying in state at the US Capitol ahead of a state funeral service in Washington National Cathedral on Wednesday, Dec. 5. The world’s most exclusive club – that of former presidents – Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack will all be in attendance.
A show of unity No. 41 wanted.