New book says Barbara Bush left GOP over Trump, blamed him for her ‘heart attack’

It’s no secret that the Bush family has little affinity for President Donald Trump, but former first lady Barbara Bush disliked him so much, she blamed him for her heart attack.

That’s according to a new book, titled “The Matriarch: Barbara Bush and the Making of an American Dynasty,” written by USA Today’s Susan Page.

Not only did the late Barbara Bush apparently attribute her health woes to Trump, she even left the Republican Party, according to an excerpt on the book from USA Today.

A remarkable turn of events, given that Bush was the matriarch of one of the party’s leading families.

Did she still consider herself a Republican?

In an interview with me in October 2017, she answered that question yes. When I asked her again four months later, in February 2018, she said, “I’d probably say no today.”

 

As for Bush’s heart attack that wasn’t quite a heart attack, the book points to the very contentious 2016 Republican primary and Trump’s ridicule of son Jeb, who he called “Low-energy Jeb.”

It wasn’t technically a heart attack, though she called it that. It was a crisis in her long battle with congestive heart failure and chronic pulmonary disease that hit her like a sledgehammer one day in June 2016. An ambulance was called to take her to the hospital. The two former presidents who had been at home with her that day, her husband and her oldest son, trailed in a car driven by the Secret Service. The tumultuous presidential campaign in general and Trump’s ridicule of son Jeb Bush in particular had riled her. “Angst,” she told me.

Afterward, Jeb, whose presidential campaign was already history, urged her to let it go, to focus on herself and have faith in the country.

 

Mrs. Bush passed away on April 17, 2018, in Houston, living long enough to not only see the American people elect Donald Trump president a few months later, but long enough to see Trump in action.

President Trump ordered flags to half-staff in Barbara Bush’s memory and sent his condolences, but did not attend Mrs. Bush’s funeral, though first lady Melania Trump did go.

The revelation about the angst, if true, would certainly help explain the deep contempt the Bush family has for Trump.

Page noted that Mrs. Bush was reluctant for Jeb to run, but eventually campaigned for him after her son put in an ask, knowing he was in trouble.

Trump tweeted about an ad she did: “Just watched Jeb’s ad where he desperately needed mommy to help him. Jeb—mom cannot help you with ISIS, the Chinese or with Putin.”

When informed of the tweet during an interview with CBS This Morning, Mrs. Bush erupted: “Putin endorsed him, for heaven’s sake. Putin the killer! Putin the worst! He endorsed Trump! That’s an endorsement you don’t want.”

George H.W. Bush, who called Trump a “blowhard,” reportedly cast a vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016 over Trump, while son George W. Bush didn’t vote for either choice.

Mrs. Bush bashed Trump way back in Jan. 1990, according to the book, writing in her diary of the billionaire, “The real symbol of greed in the 80s.”

 

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Tom Tillison

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