Bush's 9/11 Condolences Came From Him

Presidential speechwriter, 'Washington Post' columnist Michael Gerson dies at 58
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 18, 2022 11:30 AM CST
Bush's 9/11 Condolences Came From Him
Michael Gerson, center, is pictured with Condoleezza Rice and then-President George W. Bush.   (YouTube/PBS News Hour)

"This world He created is of moral design. Grief and tragedy and hatred are only for a time. Goodness, remembrance, and love have no end. And the Lord of life holds all who die and all who mourn." Those words spoken by then-President George W. Bush in the days after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and many others uttered over Bush's presidency, came from Michael Gerson, a speechwriter and senior policy adviser turned Washington Post columnist with a deep-seated faith in God and in people. The 58-year-old New Jersey native and evangelical Christian succumbed to complications from cancer at a hospital in Washington on Thursday, reports the Post.

He penned addresses seeking to heal and unite the nation after 9/11, including the one Bush gave at the Washington National Cathedral on Sept. 14, 2001, per PBS News Hour, where Gerson was a longtime contributor. He also wrote speeches that promoted the debunked claims that Iraq held weapons of mass destruction, which led to a costly war. In particular, Gerson is said to be responsible for the familiar phrase "axis of evil," per CNN. But he had a "big heart," Bush says in a statement, noting that his friend was a major force behind the administration's AIDS prevention efforts. Gerson joined the Bush campaign in 1999 after writing for conservative and evangelical leaders and the 1996 presidential campaign of Sen. Bob Dole.

Gerson later became a critic of President Barack Obama but also of his successor. Before Donald Trump's election, he urged Republicans to move away from the man he viewed as unfit for the presidency both "morally" and “temperamentally," per PBS. In a Post essay published Sept. 1, he called out his fellow evangelical Christians for supporting Trump, noting "it has been said that when you choose your community, you choose your character." He also "wrote candidly about his battles with cancer and depression," per the Post, concluding that even in his darkest moments, "hope wins." Writer Peter Wehner, a contributor to the Atlantic, is among those mourning "one of the most gifted writers of his generation." (Read more Michael Gerson stories.)

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