George H.W. Bush Lies in State at Capitol

December 4, 2018

By John T. Bennett

WASHINGTON — The Capitol welcomed the late President George H.W. Bush to the rotunda for the last time on Monday, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hailing the 41st president as a “humble” public servant who led based on a set of deeply held principles.

McConnell recounted Bush’s lone Inauguration Day address, when he noted those in attendance had gathered at the Capitol, which Bush called “the front porch of democracy.”

“A steady hand who stayed the course,” McConnell said of Bush, whom he noted kept piloting his plane in World War II after the plane was disabled by enemy fire, completing his mission run before bailing out.

“George H.W. Bush steered this country as straight as he steered that airplane,” McConnell said.

A military honor guard carefully carried Bush’s casket into the rotunda and placed it on the Lincoln Catafalque, the same platform built and used during the funeral of Abraham Lincoln after the 16th president was assassinated. The honor guard soon moved into position around the casket, over which it will keep watch as the public and dignitaries pay their respects.

Members of the House and Senate — from both parties — lined up behind a red velvet rope to pay their respects. Eight of the nine Supreme Court justices stood together on the east side of the ornate room, with several Trump administration Cabinet members, including Defense Secretary James Mattis, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. White House Chief of Staff John Kelly stood behind Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.

Among the notable figures who entered just minutes before the casket and Bush family were James Baker, who was secretary of state under Bush, and Colin Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the first Gulf War under Bush.

Sounds of the 21-gun salute outside rumbled through the rotunda. A military band played “Hail to the Chief” on the East Front driveway before Bush’s casket was carried up the stairs. A Navy sailor carrying a dark blue flag with the seal of the office of the presidency followed a few steps behind.

The 41st president died Friday night in Houston. He long had battled a form of Parkinson’s disease and been wheelchair-bound for years.

Members of both parties have praised his decades of public service, from naval aviator to congressman to director of central intelligence to commander in chief.

Bush will lie in state in the rotunda until Wednesday morning when his casket will be transported through the streets of the capital city to the National Cathedral of his state funeral service. Among those who will eulogize him is his son former President George W. Bush.

In a television interview that aired Sunday evening, the 43rd chief executive predicted his father will one day be regarded as the “greatest one-term president” in American history.

Vice President Mike Pence said Bush “never failed to answer the call of his country.”

Bush’s 58 combat missions in World War II would have been “enough honor” for most, but Bush “was just getting started.”

When Bush left office in early 1993, “he left the world a more peaceful and prosperous place,” the VP said.

Speaker Paul D. Ryan began his remarks by declaring: “Here lies a great man.”

“His life was hymn of honor. His legacy is grace perfected. His memory will belong to glory,” he said. “God bless the 41st president of the United States.”

———

©2018 CQ-Roll Call, Inc., All Rights Reserved

Visit CQ Roll Call at www.rollcall.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

In The News

Top Democrats Call For Public Release of Mueller Report Political News
Top Democrats Call For Public Release of Mueller Report
March 22, 2019
by Dan McCue

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer said Friday evening that it is imperative that Attorney General William Barr make Special Counsel Robert Mueller's full report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election public. In a joint statement, Pelosi and Schumer said Barr should... Read More

Torres Small Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Address Rural Doctor Shortages Health
Torres Small Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Address Rural Doctor Shortages
March 22, 2019
by Dan McCue

Last week, Representative Xochitl Torres Small, D-N.M., introduced The Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2019 (H.R. 1763), which she and her bipartisan cosponsors say will take definitive steps toward reducing nationwide physician shortages, with an emphasis in rural areas. The bill introduced by Torres Small, fellow Democrat... Read More

When It Comes To The Electoral College, Trump Opposed It Until He Was For It Political News
When It Comes To The Electoral College, Trump Opposed It Until He Was For It
March 22, 2019
by Dan McCue

Predictably, despite the evident bipartisan interest in doing away with the Electoral College, one person who wants to keep it is the man who inspired the current efforts to kill it, President Donald Trump. Seven years ago, Trump would no doubt have been on the side... Read More

Replacing The Electoral College Won't Be Easy And Will Require Lots of Soul-Searching Elections
Replacing The Electoral College Won't Be Easy And Will Require Lots of Soul-Searching
March 22, 2019
by Dan McCue

This week Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., made the biggest splash of her nascent presidential campaign by suggesting during a CNN town hall in Mississippi that the Electoral College should be retired and replaced by a popular-vote system that would ensure that all voters count. The moment... Read More

United States Posted Largest-Ever Monthly Budget Deficit in February Economy
United States Posted Largest-Ever Monthly Budget Deficit in February
March 22, 2019
by Dan McCue

The federal government posted its biggest monthly budget deficit ever in February as a sharp decline in corporate revenue coincided with increased spending, the Treasury Department announced Friday. The budget gap widened to $234 billion in February, compared with a fiscal gap of $215.2 billion a... Read More

A Merit-Based System Might Not Be The Answer to America’s Immigration Woes Immigration
A Merit-Based System Might Not Be The Answer to America’s Immigration Woes
March 22, 2019
by HJ Mai

The history of the United States is inextricably linked to immigration, but creating a legislative framework that balances economic need with national security concerns appears to be an insurmountable challenge for today’s lawmakers. President Donald Trump has been very clear about his priorities when it comes... Read More

Straight From The Well
scroll top