Memes & Tributes To Barbara Bush Show How Her Work & Life Transcended Partisan Politics
Wife of a former president and mother of another, Barbara Bush died on Tuesday at age 92 in her Houston, Texas, home. Social media reacted swiftly to the news of Barbara Bush's death, and the memes and tributes from prominent figures on both sides of the political aisle were respectful and full of admiration for the former first lady.
Barbara's death on Tuesday evening comes after an announcement a few days prior that she will be receiving "comfort care," a term for hospice that focuses on easing a terminally ill patient's suffering, rather than continuing treatment. Barbara had been diagnosed with congestive heart failure and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, and over the past few years she had visited the hospital multiple times for treatment.
On March 30, CNN reported that Barbara was admitted to Houston Methodist Hospital for shortness of breath. Her condition reportedly improved and she was released, but it worsened in the past few days.
While announcing that she would be focusing on "comfort care" on Sunday, the Barbara family spokesperson said, "It will not surprise those who know her that Barbara Bush has been a rock in the face of her failing health, worrying not for herself — thanks to her abiding faith — but for others."
With the former first lady's passing on Tuesday, people on all ends of the political spectrum have come forward with tributes to her role in her family, as well as her work in advocating for literacy. Mika Brzezinski, an MSNBC host, tweeted that Barbara's life "has always been a shining example of how a woman can be both loving and tough." Sean Hannity, one of Fox News' most prominent anchors, called Bush a "wonderful, strong, funny and amazing human being."
Many politicians also expressed their condolences to the Bush family and sang their admiration for the former first lady. Ronna McDaniel, the GOP chairwoman, paid tribute to Barbara's "immeasurable kindness and generosity as First Lady, mother, wife, grandmother, and great-grandmother."
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright also tweeted about Barbara, calling her "a woman of incredible determination, wit, and compassion who embodied America’s best values."
Former President Bill Clinton tweeted his and Hillary Clinton's condolences to the family. Their statement read:
Barbara Bush was a remarkable woman. She had grit & grace, brains & beauty. She was fierce & feisty in support of her family & friends, her country & her causes. She showed us what an honest, vibrant, full life looks like. Hillary and I mourn her passing and bless her memory.
Barbara was also remembered as a champion for women's health. Planned Parenthood Action Fund also tweeted about Barbara, praising her "legacy for women's health." She was reportedly an outspoken advocate for Planned Parenthood, along with George H. W. Bush when he was a congressman. Barbara's granddaughter — who is named Barbara as well — is also a huge supporter of Planned Parenthood; last year, she was the keynote speaker at its Texas branch's annual luncheon.
Maria Shriver, the niece of former President John F. Kennedy and the former first lady of California, also paid tribute to Barbara. "She served her family with love and compassion. I’m grateful I knew her," Shriver wrote on Twitter.
Many people across the country remember the former first lady as a vocal advocate for literacy education. She founded the Houston Literacy Foundation, and wrote books about her dogs whose proceeds went to adult and family literacy programs.
She was also known for her loyalty to her family, especially to her husband, President George H. W. Bush. In a 1992 interview, according to the Chicago Tribune, she said that in the White House, "you need a friend, someone who loves you, who's going to say, 'You are great.'"
As the tweets and tributes come pouring in, it's clear that Barbara has made an indelible impact on the country — both through her work and the way she lived her life.