Former presidents and dignitaries from across the political spectrum remembered Barbara Bush on Tuesday as a tough, witty first lady fiercely dedicated to her family.
Her oldest son, former President George W. Bush, said the family was saddened by her death on Tuesday, “but our souls are settled because we know hers was.”
“Mom kept us on our toes and kept us laughing until the end,” he said. “I’m a lucky man that Barbara Bush was my mother.”
In a statement released by the White House, President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump praised Bush for her work promoting literacy.
“She will be long remembered for her strong devotion to country and family, both of which she served unfailingly well,” the statement said.
Bush, who suffered from heart and respiratory troubles, was 92 years old. She and former President George H.W. Bush were married for 73 years.
Former President Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama called Barbara Bush “the rock of a family dedicated to public service.”
“We’ll always be grateful to Mrs. Bush for the generosity she showed to us throughout our time in the White House,” they said, “but we’re even more grateful for the way she lived her life – as a testament to the fact that public service is an important and noble calling; as an example of the humility and decency that reflects the very best of the American spirit.”
Mark McKinnon, a top campaign advisor to George W. Bush, called her “one bad ass force of nature.”
“Look out Archangels, there’s a new hall monitor!” he wrote on Twitter.
Barbara Bush. One bad ass force of nature. Look out Archangels, there's a new hall monitor!— Mark McKinnon (@mmckinnon) April 18, 2018
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell paid tribute to Bush’s “renowned toughness and steely resolve.”
“But what really defined Barbara’s life was her deep love for her lucky husband George, for her family, and for the country,” he said.
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi called Bush “a fierce patriot and a bold advocate for family literacy.”
“Mrs. Bush brought dignity, civility and spirit to everything she did. Her strength of character, the strength of her principles, and the strength of her faith were a great gift to our nation,” she said.
Barbara Bush served her country and led her family with dignity and grace. She made children's literacy a lifelong cause and improved so many lives. I'll miss her wit and candor, and I send my thoughts to the entire Bush family.— Sen Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein) April 18, 2018
Former President Clinton recalled her “grit & grace, brains & beauty.”
“She showed us what an honest, vibrant, full life looks like,” he wrote on Twitter. “Hillary and I mourn her passing and bless her memory.”
Barbara Bush was a remarkable woman. She had grit & grace, brains & beauty. She was fierce & feisty in support of her family & friends, her country & her causes. She showed us what an honest, vibrant, full life looks like. Hillary and I mourn her passing and bless her memory.— Bill Clinton (@BillClinton) April 17, 2018
Her son, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who ran unsuccessfully for president in 2016, expressed thanks for “the outpouring of love and support” in recent days.
“I’m exceptionally privileged,” he said, “to be the son of George Bush and the exceptionally gracious, gregarious, fun, funny, loving, tough, smart, graceful woman who was the force of nature known as Barbara Bush.”
Near the end of the 1980 GOP presidential primary campaign, was outside the Bush home in Houston on a hot steamy day. Barbara Bush invited the press to join the family around the swimming pool, if we left our reporting gear outside. A classy lady.— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) April 18, 2018
Times staff writer Cathleen Decker contributed to this report.