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Family, friends, political adversaries and others react to George H.W. Bush's death

Former presidents honor George H.W. Bush
Former presidents honor George H.W. Bush 02:23

Almost immediately after former President George H.W. Bush's death was announced late Friday night, his son, former President George W. Bush, issued a statement on behalf of the late president's children.

"Jeb, Neil, Marvin, Doro, and I are saddened to announce that after 94 remarkable years, our dear Dad has died. George H.W. Bush was a man of the highest character and the best dad a son or daughter could ask for. 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, and for the condolences of our friends and fellow citizens."

Former President Obama

Former President Obama also weighed in, tweeting about Mr. Bush's life as "a testament to the notion that public service is a noble, joyous calling." He praised Bush's expansion of "America's promise to new immigrants and people with disabilities." 

And he commended "the example of a man who, even after commanding the world's most powerful military, once said, 'I got more of a kick out of being one of the founders of the YMCA in Midland, Texas, back in 1952 than almost anything I've done.'" It was, Obama said, a testament to his "commitment to leaving behind something better."

President Donald Trump

President Trump tweeted a statement early Saturday morning. "Through his essential authenticity, disarming wit, and unwavering commitment to faith, family and country, President Bush inspired generations of Americans to public service," he wrote. He also said that Mr. Bush, as president, had "set the stage for the decades of prosperity that followed."

Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement that the president will designate Wednesday, December 5th as a National Day Of Mourning, and that he and first lady Melania Trump will attend the funeral at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.

Former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Although Clinton deprived Bush of a second term by defeating him in 1992, the two developed a close relationship post-presidency. Clinton put out a lengthy statement commemorating Bush.

"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," Clinton said.

"He never stopped serving. I saw it up close, working with him on tsunami relief in Asia and here at home after Hurricane Katrina. His remarkable leadership and great heart were always on full display," the statement continued. "I am profoundly grateful for every minute I spent with President Bush and will always hold our friendship as one of my life's greatest gifts."

Former President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter

"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," the 39th president said in a statement.

Queen Elizabeth II

The Queen of England gave her condolences for Bush's death, saying "it was with sadness that I learned of the death of President George H W Bush last night."

"President Bush was a great friend and ally of the United Kingdom. He was also a patriot, serving his country with honour and distinction in Office and during the Second World War," the queen said. "Prince Philip and I remember our days in Texas in 1991 with great fondness. My thoughts and prayers are with President Bush's family and the American people."

Vice President Mike Pence

Vice President Mike Pence said in a statement that he and his wife Karen "send our prayers and deepest condolences to the entire Bush family." Pence added that Bush's "example will always inspire and his lifetime of service will be enshrined in the hearts of the American people forever."

Former Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden

Former Vice President Joe Biden and his wife said in a statement that Bush had offered comfort to their family in a difficult time.

"When we went to Houston in 2015 to honor the doctors that cared for our deceased son Beau, President Bush insisted on coming out to see us. He wanted to personally welcome us to Houston and offer his condolences for the loss of our son," the statement said. "That was George H.W. Bush—decent, kind, and welcoming. With President Bush it was seldom about himself. Always about others. His life of service was legendary."

Former Secretary of State James Baker III

The secretary of state for Mr. Bush, James Baker III, who considered him a friend for over half a century, praised Mr. Bush's decades of service to the country not only as president, but also as vice president, CIA director, the first U.S. envoy to China and more.

"In each and every one of these positions, he led with strength, integrity, compassion and humility — characteristics that define a truly great man and effective leader," Baker wrote. "With a singularly unique consistency, he always demonstrated these traits, whether on the global stage or interacting with people in his everyday life. His passion was a deep love of family and our country. It was my pleasure and great joy to have had him as my special friend for more than 60 years." 

CIA Director Gina Haspel

Haspel honored Bush, who served as CIA director from 1976 through 1977. "We've lost a great champion of the Agency—an accomplished Director, faithful advocate, and dear friend—with the passing of former President George H.W. Bush," Haspel said in a statement.

"Officers here at the George Bush Center for Intelligence and deployed around the globe honor the memory of a great American. On behalf of the men and women of CIA, I extend our heartfelt condolences to the Bush family," the statement concluded.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo 

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Bush a "devoted husband, loving father, steadfast friend, exemplary patriot."

"Whether he was serving in the skies over the Pacific during World War II, protecting America at CIA headquarters, or leading our nation in the Oval Office, President Bush was one of America's most consequential and dedicated public servants," Pompeo wrote. "In his private life, he was a devoted family man who exuded kindness and respect to everyone he met. I am privileged to have known him as a friend, and I will always treasure the special bond we shared of having led the world's finest intelligence service.  Though our hearts are heavy today, we take comfort in knowing he is no longer apart from his beloved wife Barbara.  My thoughts and prayers, as well as those of my State Department colleagues, are with the entire Bush family. "

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas

Clarence Thomas was nominated to the Supreme Court by Bush. In a statement, he said he was "honored to be nominated by him to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and the Supreme Court of the United States."

"Both he and Mrs. Bush were the essence of decency and kindness then and throughout the years. Virginia and I extend our thoughts and prayers to the entire Bush family," Thomas said.

Defense Secretary James Mattis

Jim Mattis released a statement saying Bush's "service to our nation demonstrated how much we as a people can draw on our humility, diversity and devotion to our country to meet every challenge with fortitude and confidence."

National Security Adviser John Bolton

John Bolton, who served as ambassador to the United Nations under the administration of George W. Bush, said on Twitter, "I'm saddened by the passing of President George HW Bush. His leadership guided the US through some of the most tumultuous times in recent history, including the breakup of the Soviet Union & expelling Saddam Hussein from Kuwait. It was an honor to serve in his Administration."

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice

Rice, who served as secretary of state under George W. Bush, commemorated the elder Bush as a mentor. "President George Herbert Walker Bush was the epitome of a public servant. He loved America with all of his heart and served her as fully and completely as anyone ever has. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to work for him, to learn from him and to experience his deep and abiding commitment to his fellow citizens. He was a mentor to me and a dear friend," she said in a statement.

Former Vice President Al Gore

Al Gore, the vice president of the man who ended Bush's hopes for a second term, noted Bush's "extraordinary integrity and grace." His statement said Bush had "earned bipartisan respect for speaking up and taking action for what he believed was right, even if doing so was unpopular."

Jenna Bush Hager

Bush's granddaughter, the daughter of George W. Bush, wrote in a statement posted to Instagram that she had discussed the afterlife with her grandfather. He told her that that he was looking forward to seeing his wife of 73 years, Barbara, and his daughter who died of leukemia when she was 3 years old, Robin.

Hager told her that the elder Bush said: "'I haven't yet figured out if it will be Robin as the three-year-old that she was this kind of chubby, vivacious child or if she'll come as a middle-aged woman, an older woman.' And then he said, 'I hope she's the three-year-old.' Robin was the daughter of this giant of a man lost years before to leukemia. The little girl he held tightly, who spoke the phrase I have heard Gampy repeat for my entire life, forever knitting Robin's voice into the tightly woven fabric of our family: 'I love you more than tongue can tell.'"

U.S. Navy

The U.S. Navy had a simple tweet for Bush — "Fair winds and following seas, Sir. We have the watch."

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin

House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a statement that Bush was "great in his impact."

"President Bush best demonstrated the qualities he once described as 'those little touches of grace and affection and humor that make life sing.' His life was a hymn of honor. It was in the people's House where he began his time in public office. In our sadness today, we express our deepest condolences to the Bush family. We give thanks to God for the life of this patriot," Ryan said.

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Virginia

 Sen. Mark Warner, of Virginia, called Bush a "class act" and said in a statement that Bush was "a person of tremendous strength and moral character who exemplified the values of public service. There can be no question that his highest commitment was always to our country and to our values -- to justice, freedom, and the rights of human beings everywhere."

Republican National Committee

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement, "President Bush's legacy of bold leadership, patriotism and humanitarianism will live on long after his passing. We at the RNC are praying for the entire Bush family."

Democratic National Committee

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez said in a statement that Bush "embodied that sense of duty and commitment to bettering our country – whether it was fighting for Americans with disabilities, ensuring clear air for future generations, or bringing a peaceful end to the Cold War."

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida

The Florida senator tweeted, "President George H.W. Bush was an American hero, a patriot and a wise and generous man. May he Rest In Peace."

Goldie Hawn

There were also some heartfelt tweets from celebrities on the passing of President Bush.

"My heart aches knowing George Bush 41 has passed," actress Goldie Hawn tweeted. "An authentic caring human being who never hid his truth. He will always remind us 2 exemplify that wining will never be our legacy. His love for life and family will live on RIP dear soul."

Ellen DeGeneres

TV host Ellen DeGeneres shared a memory of the late president on 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," she recalled. "I send my love to his family tonight."

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