President Donald Trump appeared to go off script while delivering remarks about the late Barbara Bush — but don’t worry, he managed to do it without an international incident.
The president has a reputation for often leaving his written remarks behind and going off on tangents, some of which admittedly are more like ramblings than coherent points. Trump no doubt gave his speech writers a heart attack as he deviated again on Wednesday, but his comment ended up being both touching and self-effacing.
“Our hearts are saddened by her passing, but our spirits are lifted by the memories of her goodness and her grace,” Trump began at a news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. “She was a good person,” the president said about Mrs. Bush, who was 92 when she died on Tuesday.
That’s when Trump took a jab at himself while praising the renowned former first lady.
“Melania and I send our prayers to Barbara’s husband of 73 years. I’ll never beat that record,” Trump joked.
No other presidential couple in history has ever been married that long. Barbara and George H. W. Bush met near the outbreak of World War II while they were both just teenagers, and had by all accounts a loving marriage that lasted almost three-quarters of a century.
The couple was married for two years longer than Trump, who is currently 71, has even been alive.
President Trump’s good-natured comment was also likely a joke about his own history with marriage. He has been married three times and divorced twice, with a string of much-publicized girlfriends throughout the years.
Relationships are certainly not Trump’s strong suit, and even he seemed to acknowledge that he could learn a lot from the Bush matriarch.
Barbara was a wartime beau who exchanged romantic letters with George H. W. as he flew dangerous air missions over the Pacific. They moved many times during George’s time in business and then politics, while having six children, one of whom sadly died in childhood.
As the couple watched America change over many decades and witnessed their own children become successful, the marriage stayed strong until the end.
“George H.W. Bush, the former president and husband of Barbara Bush, is heartbroken and held her hand for hours on the day she died,” USA Today reported.
Other family members reflected fondly on a relationship that became part of American history during the Reagan administration and two different Bush presidencies.
“I already miss this FORCE of a woman — the ‘enforcer’ because she was the glue that held our family together,” former President George W. Bush’s daughter, Jenna Bush Hager, wrote on Instagram. “She taught me to use my voice but also to value the opinions of others. She adored her friends and family; her loyalty was unwavering.”
“She adored my Gampy, the first man she ever kissed; their love story is so engrained in the history of our family. Thinking of my Gampy tonight — no doubt missing his beloved desperately,” the late first lady’s granddaughter continued.
In an era where marriage seems to be an afterthought and relationships seem fragile, Barbara Bush’s example remains powerful … and even the 45th president knows it.
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