CNN White House reporter Kate Bennett was asked whether she was surprised by revelations in a new book about Barbara Bush that the former first lady and presidential mom disliked President Donald Trump so much she no longer considered herself a Republican when she died and kept a countdown clock beside her bed marking time until the end of his presidency.
“No,” she said to the surprising aspect of the question. “And I think they’re great. I think they’re classic Barbara Bush.”
Bush prided herself on “speaking her mind [in a way] that felt like the matriarch was talking, but she wasn’t afraid to sort of send a message and let you know what she’s really thinking,” Bennett continued. “Both of her sons talked about how mom was so good at that.”
The book, by Susan Page, is entitled “The Matriarch: Barbara Bush and the Making of a Dynasty,” and Politico reported Page had access to Bush’s diaries going to back to at least the 1990s. But as far as the media is concerned, the book was devoted totally to Trump bashing.
“Trump now means greed, selfishness and ugly. So sad,” the book quotes from a Bush diary entry in 1990.
Asked about the anecdotes in the book, Trump tried to give Barbara Bush a pass, saying, “I have heard that she was nasty to me, but she should be. Look what I did to her sons. Look, she’s the mother of someone that I competed against. Most people thought he [Jeb Bush] was going to win and he was quickly out.”
Trump campaigned against needless involvement in foreign wars and used President George W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq as a prime example. He also labeled Jeb Bush “Low-Energy Jeb” – attacks that led to a quick exit from the 2016 race for the former Florida governor, who had entered the field as a presumed favorite.
HuffPost responded to Trump’s comments with a story that basically strung together tweets from Trump enemies.
“On the latest episode of Donald Trump fires back at dead, well-respected Americans …” wrote James Glenday, a North America correspondent for ABC News.
“Excited for the next iteration of Our President Feuds With a Dead Person, wrote Chris Hayes of MSNBC.
“Such a small, graceless man,” tweeted Tom Nichols, who wrote a book entitled “The Death of Expertise.”
The Washington Post characterized Trump’s statement as a “biting retort” in the lead of “’Look what I did to her sons’: Trump says he understands why Barbara Bush didn’t like him,” by Colby Itkowitz.
“The Bushes represent a Republican Party that is hardly recognizable anymore in the era of Trump,” Itkowitz stated in the story. As such, “Barbara Bush blamed Trump for the anxiety she felt throughout the 2016 election. According to the biography, she woke up the morning after the election ‘and discovered, to my horror, that Trump had won.’”
“Trump: ‘I get why Barbara Bush disliked me – Look what I did to her sons’” read the headline on NBC’s piece by Adam Edelman, which charged Trump “was aggressively critical of Jeb Bush” during the campaign “as well as the former president, who Trump repeatedly criticized for his handling of the war in Iraq.”
Page wrote that Barbara Bush’s dislike of Trump went back decades and that she didn’t vote for him or Hillary Clinton in 2016. “Instead, she wrote in Jeb’s name on the ballot.”