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'A lifelong record of selfless patriotic service'

Presidents, world leaders praise former US president George H.W. Bush

Politicians and former administration members remember the departed American leader as honorable, patriotic and unerringly decent

In this Aug. 24, 1992, file photo, President George H.W. Bush and first lady Barbara Bush walk with their dog Millie across the South Lawn as they return to the White House (AP Photo/Scott Applewhite, File)
In this Aug. 24, 1992, file photo, President George H.W. Bush and first lady Barbara Bush walk with their dog Millie across the South Lawn as they return to the White House (AP Photo/Scott Applewhite, File)

Praise for former US president George H.W. Bush, poured in on Saturday hours after his death at 94 at his Houston home.

His son, former president George W. Bush, said 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 president Barack Obama said “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.”

President Donald Trump said: “Through his essential authenticity, disarming wit, and unwavering commitment to faith, family, and country, President Bush inspired generations of his fellow Americans to public service to be, in his words, ‘a thousand points of light’ illuminating the greatness, hope, and opportunity of America to the world.”

In this January 7, 2009, photo, then-President-elect Barack Obama is welcomed by then-President George W. Bush for a meeting at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2009, with former presidents, from left, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Former president Bill Clinton said he would “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.”

James A. Baker III, secretary of state in the Bush administration, stated that “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.”

Brent Scowcroft, Bush’s national security adviser, lamented that “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 said “Texans are genuinely honored that he called the Lone Star State home and we collectively grieve this monumental loss.”

In Kuwait, which was grateful to Bush for his intervention after Iraq invaded during the 1991 Gulf War, ruling emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah said the former president 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.”

In this Nov. 11, 2014, file photo, former President George H.W. Bush acknowledges the crowd at his presidential library before his son former President George W. Bush discusses his new book ’41: A Portrait of My Father’ in College Station, Texas. (AP Photo/Texas Tribune, Bob Daemmrich, Pool)

Actress Marlee Matlin, who is deaf, tweeted: “Remembering President George H.W. Bush and the Americans With Disabilities Act. Millions with Disabilities and who are Deaf or HOH (hard of hearing)” have had their lives “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 tweeted: “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.”

Actress and television host Ellen DeGeneres said: “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.”

Former Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev wrote: “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 wrote in condolence to the younger Bush: “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.”

Mikhail Gorbachev during the German premiere of his book “All in good time. My Life,” at the Berliner Ensemble, March, 2013. (Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0, SpreeTom)

British Prime Minister Theresa May said 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 said Bush “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, remarked: “We are mourning a great statesman and a friend of Germany [who] 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.”

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