Trump Transition

41st President Bush in 'stable' condition, wife in 'better health'

Casey Stegall has the latest updates

 

Former President George H.W. Bush was in stable condition Thursday afternoon and his wife, Barbara, reported feeling "1,000 percent" better after both had been hospitalized, him for pneumonia and her for bronchitis.

The 92-year-old former president went into the ICU at Houston Methodist Hospital on Wednesday and remained there on Thursday, family spokesman Jim McGrath said in a statement.

"President Bush had a good night's rest...His medical team is actively evaluating him for extubation, and we are hopeful he will be discharged from the ICU in a few days," McGrath said.

The 41st president had been placed in the ICU to address "an acute respiratory problem stemming from pneumonia," McGrath said. He later told The Associated Press that doctors were happy with how the procedure went. Bush was first admitted to the hospital Saturday for shortness of breath.

"I don't think there's a whole lot of money to be gained betting against George Bush," McGrath said. "We're just kind of in a wait-and-see mode."

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McGrath said Barbara Bush, who is 91, had not been feeling well for a couple of weeks and decided "to take it out of committee and have the experts check it out."

"Antibiotics and some good rest seem to have restored her to better health," McGrath said on Thursday.

The Bushes, who were married Jan. 6, 1945, have had the longest marriage of any presidential couple in American history. At the time of their wedding, he was a young naval aviator. She had been a student at Smith College.

After World War II, the pair moved to the Texas oil patch to seek their fortune and raise a family. It was there that George Bush began his political career, representing Houston for two terms in Congress in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Bush, who served as president from 1989 to 1993, has a form of Parkinson's disease and uses a motorized scooter or a wheelchair for mobility. He was hospitalized in 2015 in Maine after falling at his summer home and breaking a bone in his neck. He was also hospitalized in Houston the previous December for about a week for shortness of breath. He spent Christmas 2012 in intensive care for a bronchitis-related cough and other issues.

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Despite his loss of mobility, Bush celebrated his 90th birthday by making a tandem parachute jump in Kennebunkport, Maine. Last summer, Bush led a group of 40 wounded warriors on a fishing trip at the helm of his speedboat, three days after his 92nd birthday celebration.

Bush's office announced earlier this month that the couple would not attend Donald Trump's inauguration because of the former president's age and health.

"My doctor says if I sit outside in January, it likely will put me six feet under. Same for Barbara. So I guess we're stuck in Texas," Bush wrote in a letter to Trump.

His son George W. Bush, the 43rd president, still expects to attend the inauguration and does not plan to travel to Houston, spokesman Freddy Ford said.

Trump and President Barack Obama sent their well wishes — via Twitter and a news conference respectively. Former President Bill Clinton also tweeted: "41 and Barbara — thinking about you both and sending wishes for a speedy recovery. Love, 42."

George Herbert Walker Bush, born June 12, 1924, in Milton, Massachusetts, also served as CIA director and Ronald Reagan's vice president.

George W. Bush was elected president in 2000 and served two terms. Another son, Jeb, served as Florida governor and made an unsuccessful bid for the GOP nomination in 2016. Only one other U.S. president, John Adams, had a son who also became president.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.