One of America’s most beloved First Ladies, Barbara Bush, passed on, yesterday. The 92-year-old passed away surrounded by family shortly after announcing her desire to move towards comfort care only earlier in the week. Americans on both side of the political spectrum loved her for many reasons, giving her a unique ability to bring people together and bridge the gap between Republicans and Democrats. Today, we remember Barbara Bush for her incredible accomplishments, both as a person and as a political powerhouse in her own right.
• Barbara is one of only two women in American history who lived to see both a husband and a son elected to the Presidency. Only Louisa Adams, wife of John Quincy Adams, who served at the turn of the 19th Century, holds this esteemed role.
• First Lady Barbara Bush was also one of America’s most beloved First Ladies. In fact, the American public found her so dear that public opinion often showed her to be more popular than her husband when he was in office. This is almost unheard of for any other FLOTUS.
• The former FLOTUS managed to serve the American public without sacrificing her role as a wife and mother. She was the proud mother of six children raised during one of the most iconic times in American history, the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s.
• Barbara also had a treasured daughter, who passed away as a result of Leukemia in the early 1950s. Up until her own death, she called it one of the most painful incidents she had ever experienced, crediting her desire to move on for the sake of her other children as her pillar of strength.
• Mrs. Bush was a staunch supporter of the “American family” as an institution, protecting many of the values seemingly slipping away today. She championed literacy for children and adults alike, working tirelessly to improve access to education across the country for many years. She often called literacy a “fundamental family value that requires nurturing and protection.”
• Bush was also known for her unending honestly, even when her spoken opinions weren’t necessarily popular. She had strong opinions about Trump’s treatment of women, often quoting that she was “sick of him.” Her complaints weren’t so much about his politics as they were about his treatment of women. “I’m a woman,” she explained in an interview a few years back. “I’m not crazy about what he says about women.”
• The woman who remained FLOTUS in America’s hearts, even after her husband and son left office, was also a champion for HIV/AIDS awareness during a time in which many patients were ostracized. In a 1989 interview with the Washington Post, she explained, “You can hug and pick up AIDS babies and people who have the HIV virus. There is a need for compassion.”
• Barbara also had strong thoughts about Russia, going as far as to warn the public that a vote for Trump would be a vote for Russia.“Putin has endorsed him, for heaven’s sakes. Putin the killer, Putin the worst. That’s an endorsement you don’t want.” She did not, however, ever claim that this statement demonstrated blaming Trump for such endorsement.
• Despite her long-standing popularity, Barbara was incredibly humble. At a time when she out-shined her husband in popularity, she was quick to downplay America’s love. “Nobody is jealous of me,” she said. “I mean, look at me. Who would be? It’s easy to like me. They like George, and they respect him. But he has to say no to people because he has to do what’s right for the country, and that’s hard.”
• Barbara Bush will be remembered, not only for being America’s favorite pearl-wearing, opinion-holding Matriarch, but for also bringing the county together during particularly tumultuous times.
Out of respect for the former First Lady, we will not be adding a poll here, but instead, encourage you to voice your own memories or thoughts on Barbara Bush in the comments.