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Presidents, others praise former President George H.W. Bush

UPDATED: Sat., Dec. 1, 2018

Associated Press

George H.W. Bush, a World War II hero whose presidency soared with the coalition victory over Iraq in Kuwait, but then plummeted in the throes of a weak economy that led voters to turn him out of office after a single term, has died. He was 94.

Bush, who also presided during the collapse of the Soviet Union and the final months of the Cold War, died late Friday night at his Houston home, said family spokesman Jim McGrath. His wife of more than 70 years, Barbara Bush, died in April 2018.

The then-new president appeared with House Speaker Tom Foley, in Riverfront Park, marking the state centennial and the 15th anniversary of Expo ’74.

Bush will be honored with a funeral at Washington’s National Cathedral, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Saturday. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump will attend, she said.

Praise poured in over night from top political and social leaders both in the United States and abroad for former President George H.W. Bush:

Former President George W. Bush

(He) “was a man of the highest character. The entire Bush family is deeply grateful for 41’s life and love, for the compassion of those who have cared and prayed for Dad.”

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush

Former President Barack Obama

“George H.W. Bush’s life is a testament to the notion that public service is a noble, joyous calling. And he did tremendous good along the journey.”

James A. Baker III, secretary of state in the Bush administration

“The legacy of George H.W. Bush will be forever etched in the history of America and the world. It is a lifelong record of selfless patriotic service to our nation.”

President Donald Trump, via Twitter

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

Former President Bill Clinton

“I 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.”

Brent Scowcroft, Bush’s national security adviser

“The world has lost a great leader; this country has lost one of its best; and I have lost one of my dearest friends. I am heartbroken.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott

“Texans are genuinely honored that he (Bush) called the Lone Star State home and we collectively grieve this monumental loss.”

Kuwait’s ruling emir, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah

(George H.W. Bush) tried to “create a new international order based on justice and equality among nations” … he never “forgot the Kuwaiti people and will remain in their memory.”

Actress Marlee Matlin, who herself is deaf, via Twitter

“Remembering President George H.W. Bush and the Americans With Disabilities Act. Millions of with Disabilities and who are Deaf or HOH (hard of hearing) lives have been changed for the better as a result of his signing this landmark legislation. My condolences to his entire family RIP #georgehwbush.”

Democratic political strategist Donna Brazile, via Twitter

“President George H.W. Bush was the real deal. We fought but he was gracious enough to accept my apology. Through his daughter Dorothy, my friends Ron Kaufman and Mary Matalin, I got to know him. Rest in Peace #georgehwbush”

Ellen DeGeneres, via Twitter

“I will never forget George H.W. Bush and President Clinton meeting me in my old hometown of New Orleans to show support and raise money after Hurricane Katrina. I send my love to his family tonight.”

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

“As an American envoy to Beijing, as CIA Director, as Vice President for eight years and then four years as President, George H.W. Bush’s statesmanship played a key role in helping to end the Cold War, which bought democracy to millions of people in Europe and diminished the threat of nuclear war. George H.W. Bush was a strong supporter of the international rules-based system, the rule of law and democratic values.”

Former Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev

“It was a time of great change, demanding great responsibility from everyone. The result was the end of the Cold War and nuclear arms race. (My wife, Raisa, and I) “deeply appreciated the attention, kindness and simplicity typical of George and Barbara Bush, as well as the rest of their large, friendly family.”

Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama

“He was in fact the first American President that I was privileged to meet. I recall being deeply touched by your father’s concern for the Tibetan people and the situation in Tibet. It is truly admirable to have lived over 94 years. While nothing can replace the loss of a father, we can rejoice in the fact that his was a meaningful life, dedicated to public service. I commend your parents for encouraging their children, including you my dear friend, to devote yourselves to the service of others.”

British Prime Minister Theresa May

(President George H.W. Bush was) “a great statesman and a true friend of our country” whose “ethos of public service was the guiding thread of his life and an example to us all … in navigating a peaceful end to the Cold War he made the world a safer place for generations to come.”

John Major, British Prime Minister from 1990-1997

(He) “saw America’s obligation to the world and honored it. I feel privileged to have worked with him, and even more privileged that he became a lifelong friend. He was, quite simply, one of the most deep-down decent people I have ever known.”

Heiko Maas, German foreign minister

“We are mourning a great statesman and a friend of Germany … (Bush) courageously seized the opportunity to end the Cold War … he is also an architect of German unity. He supported it from the beginning without reservations. We will never forget that.”

Salvador S. Panelo, chief presidential legal counsel and presidential spokesperson

“The Palace is deeply saddened by the news of the passing of former President George Herbert Walker Bush of the United States of America. Mr. George Bush, Sr. … was credited for his foreign policy which saw the end of the Cold War. He stood for freedom and his words about the subject ring a bell until this day when he said, “The anchor in our world today is freedom, holding us steady in times of change, a symbol of hope to all the world. On behalf of the Filipino nation and people, we wish to convey our condolences and prayers to the family and friends of Mr. Bush, as well as to the government and the people of the United States of America.”

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, via Twitter

“Former President George H. W. Bush was passionate about strong relations between India and USA. His presence will be sorely missed. May he rest in peace.”

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison

“The President’s life was one of service, to his country and to his family … President Bush was the embodiment of the values of the United States, standing up for what was right and fighting throughout his life for freedom from tyranny and oppression in any guise. In fighting for these values so cherished by both our nations, he was a true friend to Australia and it was Australia’s honour to host him at the Australian Parliament in 1991. The President’s civility, charm and warmth endeared him to his nation and to people everywhere, making him loved as much as he was admired and respected. We join with the American people to mourn his passing.”

Former President Jimmy Carter

“Rosalynn and I are deeply saddened by the death of former President George H.W. Bush. His administration was marked by grace, civility, and social conscience. Through his Points of Light initiative and other projects, he espoused a uniquely American volunteer spirit, fostering bipartisan support for citizen service and inspiring millions to embrace community volunteerism as a cherished responsibility. We again extend our heartfelt condolences to the Bush family.”

Russian leader Vladimir Putin, via the Kremlin website

“A distinguished man has passed away. One who served his country for his entire life, with a weapon in his hands during wartime and in high office during peacetime.”

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

“Beginning with his posting as United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations in 1971 and continuing through his appointment as the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the South Asia Earthquake Disaster in 2005, George H. W. Bush worked productively with and through the United Nations. Across the years I was consistently impressed by his compassion, instinct for moderation and commitment to public service.”

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

“President George H.W. Bush accomplished historic, great achievements by contributing to peace and stability of the international community.”

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, via Twitter

“He will be long remembered in the hearts of our people for his dedication to world peace and safety while leading the efforts that brought an end to the Cold War and reconciliation between the East and West, and also for his strong efforts to bring peace to the Korean Peninsula and develop the alliance between South Korea and the United States.”

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker

“President Bush’s calmness, leadership and close personal relationships with Helmut Kohl and Mikhail Gorbachev were decisive in restoring peace and freedom back to so many people across our Continent. We Europeans will forever remember this.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel

“The German people had in him a true friend who recognized the significance of this historic hour and gave us his trust and support.”

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