Barbara Bush said Donald Trump was responsible for the heart troubles she suffered late in her life and no longer considered herself a Republican in the Trump era, a new book reveals.
The late first lady is the subject of a new biography from USA Today correspondent Susan Page. The book, The Matriarch: Barbara Bush and the Making of an American Dynasty, included hours of interviews with Barbara Bush. In one passage, the former first lady said that she suffered a heart attack — which was technically congestive heart failure and chronic pulmonary disease, USA Today reported — due to the stress of Trump’s ridicule of her son, Jeb Bush, during the 2016 Republican primary.
Barbara said Jeb helped her deal with the stress.
“Jeb said, ‘Mom, don’t worry about things you can’t do anything about,'” Barbara Bush said. “He’s right. Just do good, make life better for someone else.”
Page spoke to Barbara Bush near the first anniversary of his shocking election victory, and Bush said she still believed that America is a strong country and that everything would work out for the best. But Bush also said she was dismayed to see the direction Trump was bringing the country and could no longer identify with the party that her husband and son represented in the White House.
When asked if she still considered herself a Republican in the era of Donald Trump, Bush answered, “I’d probably say no today.”
There had long been animosity between the Bush family and Donald Trump. During the Republican primary, Trump saved some of his harshest attacks for Jeb Bush, who at the start of the race was considered the frontrunner. Members of the Bush family continued to criticize Trump’s rhetoric after he won the election, and the animosity continued even after Barbara Bush’s death.
Details from new Barbara Bush book:
*Bush blamed Trump for her heart attack.
*She said by today's terms, with Trump's rise, she would not classify herself as a Republican.
*Bush kept Trump Countdown clock. It sat next to her bed until the day she died.https://t.co/pRm03E9RQ9
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) March 27, 2019
As Politico noted, there were reports that Trump was not welcome at her funeral, though George H.W. Bush made it known before his death that Trump would be invited to his. Those close to the former president said he would not want to break protocol and not allow a sitting president at his memorial service.
“If anybody at anytime knew anything about the 41st president of the United States, they would completely and totally understand that he would welcome the current occupant 100 percent,” an aide in the office of the former president told Politico. “This is the way the country says goodbye to presidents.”