Barbara Bush Said She No Longer Considered Herself A Republican After Trump Became President
Former First Lady Barbara Bush, who got candid in the final months before her death, said she didn’t consider herself a Republican after Donald Trump took office, according to a forthcoming book about Bush and the making of an American dynasty.
“After Trump’s rise, she saw it as a party she could not continue to support, a party she no longer recognized — even as one of her grandsons, George P. Bush, was on the ballot as a Republican running for re-election as Texas land commissioner,” author Susan Page wrote in an excerpt adapted from her new book, The Matriarch: Barbara Bush and the Making of an American Dynasty.
In October 2017, when asked whether she was a Republican or not, Bush answered “yes,” according to Page, who interviewed the former first lady in the final months of her life before she died last year in April.
But when asked the same question four months later, when Trump took office, Bush replied: “I’d probably say no today.”
According to the new book, Bush blamed Trump’s attacks on her son, Jeb, for what she considered to be a “heart attack” during the 2016 campaign, though she was actually suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. A source close to the Bush family revealed that the family referred to the incident as a heart attack from time to time but did not mean it literally.
On Election Day, Bush didn’t vote for Trump or Hillary Clinton, but instead wrote Jeb’s name on the ballot, Page writes.
Page also noted that Bush was so horrified by Trump’s win that she even kept a countdown clock, given to her by a friend, on her bedside table that showed the time remaining in Trump’s term. The book also mentioned that Bush wrote a note to Melania Trump two weeks after the election, welcoming her to “the First Ladies very exclusive club.”
“The world thought I was writing this note to Bill Clinton. I am glad that I am not,” Bush wrote in the note, according to a copy of the letter included in a USA Today excerpt.
Bush also wrote to Trump when there was speculation over whether Melania would remain in New York or move to Washington. “Living in the White House is a joy and their only job is to make you happy. If you decide to stay in NYC that will be fine also,” she wrote.
Bush had also written “a funny congratulatory letter” to send to Bill, “assuming that he would take over the role of presidential spouse,” Page wrote.
Page’s book, The Matriarch: Barbara Bush and the Making of an American Dynasty, will be published on April 2 by Twelve Books.