WASHINGTON (LEX 18) – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell delivered remarks on former First Lady Barbara Bush on the Senate floor Wednesday.
Here is his statement:
The Senate pays tribute this morning to a beloved American who passed away yesterday. To our 41st president, her lucky husband, Barbara Pierce Bush was a beloved wife and partner for more than seven decades. To the American people whom she lovingly served as an exemplary First Lady, she was one of the most respected and well-liked public figures of her generation. And to the five children, 17 grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and all the family that Barbara leaves behind at the age of 92, she was a beloved matriarch.
By all accounts, she was equally capable of building up those she loved most and poking fun at them when they deserved it. Put simply, Barbara was a founding partner of the most influential political family of our era. The epic love story of George Bush and Barbara Pierce began at a Christmas dance in 1941. The intimacy of wartime love letters beat back the vastness of oceans, and they married just weeks after George returned from the Pacific.
George once wrote that his beloved wife has ‘given me joy that few men know.’ Barbara put it this way, just a few weeks before her passing: ‘I am still old, and still in love.’ That love story grew, and grew. Eventually it incorporated the entire nation. Barbara embraced the mantle of ‘America’s grandmother.’ The self-deprecating humor in that title was classic Barbara. But her plain-spoken humility concealed formidable strengths and talents.
Even under all the bright lights and pressures of public scrutiny, she always combined wit with warmth, smarts with common sense, and great toughness with greater compassion. The beneficiaries of those qualities were many. The cause of literacy, in particular, bids farewell to a devoted champion.
But above all, Barbara’s life was defined by love. She loved her husband and her family. She loved her country. And America loved her back. Today, the Senate stands united — as does the nation — with the Bush family and their great many friends. We join them in mourning for their loss, and in prayer.