George H. W. Bush passed away on Friday night, after years of battling health issues. Television personality and journalist Anderson Cooper gave a compelling eulogy on CNN that captured the ups and downs of the politician’s life and legacy. Bush was 94 years old at the time of his death. His wife, Barbara Bush, passed away eight months ago.
Although he served only one term and was infamous for breaking his “read my lips: no new taxes” promise, President Bush also earned a lot of praise from both sides of the aisle. As the New York Times reported, many have referred to Bush as the nation’s most successful single-term president.
The Bush family has spent decades in public service, beginning with H. W.’s father, Prescott Bush. Prescott became a United States Senator in 1952, and he remained in office for 11 years before retiring from the Senate. Interestingly, H. W. began his political career in 1963, the same year that his father stepped out of the public limelight.
Decades later, H. W.’s son, George W. Bush, joined the family business. In 2001, the younger Bush became president, two terms after his father left office. This made the pair the first father-son duo — since John Adams and John Quincy Adams — to both serve as the President of the United States.
Anderson Cooper deftly steered away from George H. W. Bush’s most recent controversies. According to Time, at least six women accused the elder Bush of sexual misconduct. One of these women, Roslyn Corrigan, was only 16 at time of the alleged incident. Rather than deny these allegations, a spokesperson for Bush admitted that the former president had “patted women’s rears in what he intended to be a good-natured manner.”
Cooper, who has been publicly open about his sexuality since 2012, also avoided the topic of H. W. Bush’s spotty history regarding LGBT rights. As president, Bush was a vocal opponent of same-sex marriage and same-sex parenting. However, he also became the first president to enact federal legislation — with the Hate Crime Statistics Act — that listed “sexual orientation” as a protected class. Per Pink News, the elder Bush’s standpoint on same-sex marriage changed by 2013, when he and his wife, Barbara, served as the official witnesses of a lesbian wedding ceremony.
H.W. Bush expressed disappointment at the nation’s decision to elect Donald J. Trump.
“I don’t like him…he’s a blowhard…I voted ‘None of the Above’ for president,” he declared, as reported by USA Today.
Bush was confined to a wheelchair during the last few years of his life due to vascular parkinsonism. The official cause of death has not yet been released, but it’s likely that the mini-strokes associated with his medical condition played a role.
George H. W. Bush is survived by five of his six children and, as Anderson Cooper pointed out, his philanthropic, optimistic view of the world.
“I will keep America moving forward, always forward – for a better America, for an endless enduring dream and a thousand points of light,” reads one of H.W. Bush’s more popular quotes.