Trump declares day of mourning Wednesday for George H. W. Bush

The White House announced that Wednesday will be a national day of mourning for George Herbert Walker Bush, America’s 41st president who died overnight at the age of 94.

“President George H. W. Bush led a long, successful and beautiful life. Whenever I was with him I saw his absolute joy for life and true pride in his family,” Trump tweeted on Saturday.

“His accomplishments were great from beginning to end. He was a truly wonderful man and will be missed by all!”

Bush reportedly didn’t care much for Trump, and is said to have voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton in the last election. Our current president was iced out of the two most recent gatherings of US presidents and their wives — the funerals earlier this year for Bush’s wife Barbara and the late U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).

Trump tweeted twice early Saturday to acknowledge the death of Bush, and hailed him in a statement for his “unwavering commitment to faith, family and country.”

Trump also ordered that flags would be flown at half-staff on federal buildings in Washington for a month, while the New York Stock Exchange plans to be shuttered Wednesday in tribute to the late president.

Funeral arrangements for Bush had not been finalized early Saturday, but Americans can expect to be barraged over the next several days with misty-eyed nostalgia about the “kinder, gentler” presidency of a bygone era.

Those paired words, were of course, famously uttered by Bush. The scion and patriarch to one of the nation’s pre-eminent political families coined the phase to sum up his vision for the kind of country he hoped America could someday be.

Within hours of his passing, pundits and politicos waxed nostalgic for the kind of president the elder Bush was, stately, noblesse oblige, patrician, diplomatic. In short, Bush was pretty much like most presidents who came before him in that he didn’t utterly inundate voters with the kind of daily deception, innuendo and invective favored by the incumbent president.

Words like “gracious” and pragmatist were bandied about to honor Bush on Saturday. Those less inclined to lionize him recalled news reports, including by ThinkProgress’ Addy Baird, detailing how Poppa Bush was accused of groping a woman.

A former US congressman, ambassador to China, CIA director, and vice president to Ronald Reagan, Bush voted in June 1963 to reject the landmark civil rights legislation, saying that the problem of racial injustice would better be solved via “moral persuasion.”

When President Lyndon Johnson signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Bush opposed it as a violation of states’ rights. He also vetoed civil rights legislation as president in 1990.

And the Willie Horton ad cooked up by Lee Atwater for Bush’s 1988 presidential election has gone down in campaign history as an exemplary use of racist fear mongering.

Other ignominious aspects of his legacy included his boast in 1983 that he had “kicked a little ass” in a vice presidential debate against New York Democrat Geraldine Ferraro, the first woman to appear on a presidential ticket.

Trump’s statement took care to make mention of Bush’s “thousand point of lights,” a signature charitable initiative which eventually became name for the late president’s foundation.

Trump failed to note that just a few short months ago, in a speech, he ridiculed the entire points of light concept.

The brief Bush presidency — he served just one term after being defeated by Democrat Bill Clinton in the 1992 election — harkened back to a different kind of electorate, one that held the president accountable for broken promises and unfulfilled pronouncements.

His “read my lips, no new taxes” pledge ultimately got him booted from office when he broke it.


Source: thinkprogress