IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Tributes to George H.W. Bush pour in following former president's death

"While our hearts are heavy today, they are also filled with gratitude," former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama said.
Get more newsLiveonNBC News Now

American and foreign luminaries expressed respect and gratitude for former President George H.W. Bush, who died Friday at age 94.

In tweets and statements, they expressed respect for his public service, love of country and basic decency.

President Trump and first lady Melania Trump said he "set the stage for the decades of prosperity that have followed."

"With sound judgement, common sense and unflappable leadership, guided our Nation, and the world, to a peaceful and victorious conclusion of the Cold War," the Trumps said in a statement Friday night.

On Saturday, Trump again praised the former president's "long, successful and beautiful life."

Former President Bill Clinton, who defeated Bush in the 1992 presidential election, described his predecessor's record of service as unmatched and added that he was "grateful for the friendship we formed."

"He never stopped serving. I saw it up close, working with him on tsunami relief in Asia and here at home after Hurricane Katrina. His remarkable leadership and great heart were always on full display," Clinton said in a statement. "I am profoundly grateful for every minute I spent with President Bush and will always hold our friendship as one of my life’s greatest gifts."

Hillary Clinton also expressed condolences to the Bush family. "In my experiences w/ him, I always valued his desire to listen, look at evidence & ask for ideas, even from people w/ different beliefs," she wrote on Twitter.

Former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama said, "While our hearts are heavy today, they are also filled with gratitude."

"Not merely for the years he spent as our forty-first President, but for the more than 70 years he spent in devoted service to the country he loved — from a decorated Naval aviator who nearly gave his life in World War II, to Commander-in-Chief of our Armed Forces, with plenty of posts along the way," the Obamas said in a statement. "George H.W. Bush’s life is a testament to the notion that public service is a noble, joyous calling."

Bush's grandson, George P. Bush, tweeted, "My grandfather was the greatest man I ever knew. His life spanned the American Century — he fought in World War II ... took part in the Texas oil boom ... served out a distinguished career in public service including serving as president during the final days of the Cold War."

James A. Baker III, who served as Chief of Staff and Secretary of State under Bush and who the former president counted among his closest friends, said his "will be forever etched in the history of America and the world."

"It is a lifelong record of selfless patriotic service to our nation," he said. "He led with strength, integrity, compassion and humility — characteristics that define a truly great man."

Fred Ryan, chairman of the board of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute, called the leadership of former President Reagan and Bush, who served as his vice president, "a remarkable partnership."

"As they reignited the U.S. economy, battled tyranny across the globe and restored America’s pride and purpose, President Reagan relied on his vice president’s calm, strength, loyalty and wisdom," Ryan said. "In all that the administration achieved, President Reagan once remarked, 'no one has been closer to my side and has contributed more to our success than George Bush.'"

Bush's vice president, Dan Quayle, said he always looked up to his former boss.

"I have often told my children, 'If you want a role model in your life — look to President George Herbert Walker Bush,'" he said in a statement. "The world mourns the loss of a great American. But, it also celebrates a life well lived."

The nonprofit founded by Bush, Points of Light, tweeted that he was "a kind, compassionate and humble man; a leader who believed in service for the betterment of society."

Senior Democrats, such as former Vice President Al Gore and Beto O'Rourke, a Texas congressman who lost to Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in November, also paid tribute.

Bush "served our nation with extraordinary integrity and grace," Gore said in a statement. "He earned bipartisan respect for speaking up and taking action for what he believed was right, even when doing so was unpopular."

Gore was vice president to Clinton, who defeated incumbent Bush in 1992.

O'Rourke said the former president would be "long remembered for his leadership, he decency and his essential kindness."

Condolences also came from the international community. The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres acknowledged the former president's service to the organization that began with his appointment as the U.S.'s permanent representative in 1971.

"Across the years I was consistently impressed by his compassion, instinct for moderation and commitment to public service," Guterres said, also point to his more recent contributions during the South Asia earthquake disaster in 2005.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said, "He will be remembered as one of the architects of the post-Cold War era."

Stoltenberg went on to say that Bush was "a true trans-Atlantist" as a proponent for the relationship between the U.S. and its European allies.

Russian President Vladimir Putin praised Bush's "political wisdom and foresight" along with his ability to "make informed decisions even in the most difficult situations."

"Aware of the significance of the constructive dialogue between the two major nuclear powers, George Bush Sr. did much to strengthen Russian-American cooperation on international security issues," Putin said in a statement.

Kuwait's ruler Sheikh Jaber al-Mubarak al-Sabah said Bush's leadership in the first Gulf War was "pivotal" in forming an international coalition that liberated Iraqi forces, he said in a statement.

The 1991 Gulf War saw U.S.-led forces expel occupying Iraqi troops of dictator Saddam Hussein from Kuwait, earning Bush admiration and respect from many in the Gulf kingdom.

In Britain, where many place great value on the "special relationship" with the U.S., Prime Minister Theresa May praised Bush's "ethos of public service."

"At each stage of his remarkable career, the president worked side by side with his friends, colleagues and counterparts in the United Kingdom," she added in a statement. "Today Britain remembers a great statesman and a true friend of our country."

Bush was also lauded by senior figures outside the world of politics.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said on Twitter that Bush was dedicated to the American people.

CORRECTION (Nov. 30, 1:45 p.m. ET): An earlier version of this article misstated the year George H.W. Bush lost the presidential election to Bill Clinton. It was 1992, not 1994.