By Shlomo Rudman. George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st President of the United States, died Friday night at the age of 94. He had been battling medical issues for the past several years, but had been resilient in his fight to continue living. His death comes less than a year after his wife of 73 years, Barbara, passed away aged 92.
George H.W. Bush was born on June 12th, 1924 to Prescott and Dorothy Bush in Milton, Massachusetts. After the United States was attacked by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor, he enlisted in the Navy, and at the age of 18 became the youngest aviator in US history at the time. His aircraft was shot down by the Japanese over the ocean and he was rescued by the US submarine Finback. He continued serving the military until 1945.
After graduating Yale, George went on to become an extremely successful businessman, making millions of dollars in the field of oil exploration and drilling.
In 1966, Bush ran for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, ultimately beating Democrat Frank Briscoe to represent Texas’ 7th District in Congress. In 1970, he ran an unsuccessful US Senate campaign against Democrat Lloyd Bentsen, losing the race 53%-46%.
President Nixon appointed Bush to serve as US Ambassador to the United Nations in 1970, where he served for 2 years.
As the Watergate scandal simmered, Nixon asked Bush to become Chairman of the Republican National Committee, a position he accepted, serving as Chairman as the Nixon’s presidency collapsed.
Bush was appointed by President Gerald Ford to be Envoy to China in 1974, and during his 14-month stint in the position, US-China relations saw significant improvements.
President Ford nominated Bush to become Director of the CIA in 1976, and following his confirmation, served in that position for just a year.
Following a failed 1980 run for the presidency, George H.W. Bush was selected by Ronald Reagan to run on his presidential ticket as Vice President. Reagan won the presidency, and Bush served as Vice President for Reagan’s 2 terms in office, from 1981 to 1989.
In 1988, as Reagan’s time in office was nearing an end, Bush ran for the Republican presidential nomination, a race in which he was considered the favorite to win throughout. Bush chose Indiana Senator Dan Quayle to be his running mate. Together, they defeated Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis in the presidential election, winning 426 electoral college votes to just 111 won by Dukakis and his running mate Lloyd Bentsen.
George H.W. Bush took office on January 20, 1989, during a period of global transition. The Berlin Wall fell early on in his presidency, and the Soviet Union collapsed just a short time later in 1991. Bush ordered military operations in Panama against dictator Manuel Noriega, and in the Persian Gulf when he authorized the military to push Iraqi forces under Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait, moves which earned him praise and record-high approval ratings.
President George H.W. Bush made two Supreme Court appointments: David Souter in 1990, and Clarence Thomas in 1991.
Bush was a key supporter of NAFTA talks, a trade agreement which ended up passing during the Clinton presidency, and recently scrapped by President Trump.
President Bush was defeated by Bill Clinton in the 1992 presidential election, his bid for a second term hurt by a slow economy and the candidacy of billionaire Ross Perot. In the years since, Bush has become known in many circles as the most successful one-term president in the history of the United States.
He died peacefully at his home in Houston late Friday night, shortly after speaking with his son, George, the 43rd president of the United States.
The White House released a statement calling Bush a great American who personified entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to public service.