January 19 2017
Earlier today I posted on Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren's no-class refusal to shake hands with Betsy DeVos, President-elect Donald Trump's appointee as secretary of education.
Now, I'd like to salute a class-act politician who also disagrees with Trump--and reportedly didn't vote for him: Former President George. H.W. Bush. Let's see how Bush handled his dealings with Trump:
With this gracious and gently humorous "Dear Donald" letter of Jan. 10 explaining why he wouldn't be able to attend Trump's Jan. 20 inauguration:
"My doctor says if I sit outside in January, it will likely put me six feet under. Same for Barbara. So I guess we're stuck here in Texas," the 92-year-old Bush wrote.
In September Kathleen Hartington Kennedy Townsend, former lieutenant governor of Maryland and a daughter of the late Robert F. Kennedy, posted on Facebook that Bush, a lifelong Republican, had told her he planned to vote for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. In December 2015, during the contentious GOP primary season, Trump had mocked Bush's son Jeb, former governor of Florida and a rival for the presidential nomination, as "low energy."
But in his Jan. 10 letter to Trump Bush rose above the family slight. He wrote that he and Barbara Bush “will be with you and the country in spirit.”
“I want you to know that I wish you the very best as you begin this incredible journey of leading our great country,” he continued. “If I can ever be of help, please let me know.”
What a lovely thing to say. I never agreed with every aspect of Bush's one-term presidency from 1989 to 1992, but I've got to agree that he has spent his life as a consummate gentleman with a long record of service to his country that dates to his days as a decorated Navy pilot during World War II, after enlisting at age 17. He celebrated his 90th birthday two years ago with a tandem jump from a parachute over his summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine.
On Jan. 18 both Bushes were separately hospitalized, George Bush for pneumonia and Barbara Bush for a chronic fatigue and bronchitis condition. Bothj Bushes are reportedly recovering, and it's impossible not to wish them many years more.
Trump, for his part, tweeted to Bush:
"Looking forward to a speedy recovery for George and Barbara Bush, both hospitalized. Thank you for your wonderful letter!
That's a class act, too.