Barbara Bush Book: She Had a Trump Countdown Clock

Late first lady apparently blamed Trump for her 2016 heart issues due to 'angst'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 27, 2019 9:25 AM CDT
New Barbara Bush Book: She Blamed Trump for Heart Issues
Former President George HW Bush, right, and his wife, Barbara, at a Major League Baseball game on April 18, 2009, in Houston.   (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Former first lady Barbara Bush blamed Donald Trump for her heart problems due to the "angst" she was feeling in June 2016 over Trump's campaign, especially his mockery of her son Jeb. That's one of the scoops in a new book by Susan Page, the DC bureau chief for USA Today, based on Page's interactions with Bush during the last half-year of her life. The newspaper has adapted parts from The Matriarch: Barbara Bush and the Making of an American Dynasty, out on Tuesday, and it has somewhat of a focus on Trump. Bush told Page in October 2017 that she still considered herself a Republican, but her answer just four months later, based on what she'd seen going on in the country: "I'd probably say no today."

Page notes that Bush's disdain for Trump dated all the way back to the early '90s, when she jotted thoughts in her diary about his very public separation and divorce from Ivana Trump. "The Trumps are a new word, both of them," Bush penned. "Trump now means greed, selfishness, and ugly. So sad." Page does mention that Bush was warmer to Trump's third wife, Melania, writing her a letter after Trump won the 2016 election. "I wanted to welcome you to the First Ladies very exclusive club," Bush wrote. "When you come to the White House, let your son bring a friend. That is my unasked-for advice." Another tidbit garnering buzz from The Matriarch: Bush had a Trump countdown clock, given to her by a friend in Maine. After she brought it back to Texas, it sat on her nightstand "until the day she died." (Read more Barbara Bush stories.)

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