Julian Castro suggests new guard of Dems has 2020 edge, as he takes big step toward bid

Julian Castro isn’t writing off some of the older potential Democratic presidential contenders, like former Vice President Joe Biden and Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. But the 44-year old former San Antonio, Texas, mayor and Housing and Urban Development secretary under President Obama clearly likes to highlight that Americans are hungering for “a new … Continue reading “Julian Castro suggests new guard of Dems has 2020 edge, as he takes big step toward bid”

Julian Castro isn’t writing off some of the older potential Democratic presidential contenders, like former Vice President Joe Biden and Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

But the 44-year old former San Antonio, Texas, mayor and Housing and Urban Development secretary under President Obama clearly likes to highlight that Americans are hungering for “a new generation of leadership.”

Castro on Wednesday took a major step toward running for the White House by announcing – through a video on his website – the launch of a presidential exploratory committee.

Julian Castro at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics last February. (Fox News)

Asked about potential candidates in their 70s or late 60s, such as Biden, Sanders and Warren, Castro said they “bring a lot to the table” and are “very talented, very accomplished, very important voices in the party. I hope they run.”

“I would never say somebody shouldn’t be in a position just because they’ve been around for 'x' number of years,” Castro explained in an interview with Fox News and a couple of local New Hampshire news outlets.

But, he emphasized: “I think you always need a mix of folks who have a lot of experience and then also folks who are bringing a fresh perspective. And I’m going to try and bring a fresh perspective.”

Castro grabbed headlines with his announcement – which he said would be followed by an official decision on Jan. 12.

Julian Castro during a visit to Nashua, N.H. (Fox News)

But the news came as fellow Texas Democrat Beto O’Rourke’s been enjoying plenty of buzz and lots of national media attention in recent weeks. The outgoing congressman who came close to defeating Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in last month’s midterm elections has excited activists and donors across the country as he mulls his own presidential bid.

“I’ve always assumed that this is going to be a crowded field,” Castro acknowledged.

“I think you have a lot of talented people who are thinking about it, including Beto,” he added diplomatically.

O’Rourke returned the compliment, telling Fox News: “Secretary Castro is an amazing person, did an amazing job as mayor of San Antonio as secretary of HUD in the Obama administration, I think he’s going to be a great candidate.”

CASTRO FORMS 2020 PRESIDENTIAL EXPLORATORY COMMITTEE

O’Rourke added that Castro’s move “doesn’t change anything that I’m doing because we just haven’t made a decision about anything.”

He explained he’s been focused on finishing his remaining weeks in Congress during the lame-duck session before spending “time with family and hopefully it becomes obvious to us what’s in the best interest of our family and country and pursue it.”

In his interview, Castro clearly took aim at President Donald Trump even without naming him, highlighting that Americans are “ready for leadership in Washington that is trying to unite us instead of divide us, that insists on opportunity for everybody instead of just opportunity for some people, that has integrity and character instead of what we’ve seen recently.”

Castro’s announcement – which allows him to raise money legally for a presidential bid – did not come as a surprise.

He’s been signaling that a White House run has been in the cards, telling reporters in recent weeks he was likely to launch a campaign. His trips this year to the early voting states in the presidential primary and caucus calendar – including three stops in New Hampshire – also were a calling card regarding his 2020 intentions.

Castro’s move puts him ahead of most potential rivals for the nomination. Only outgoing three-term Rep. John Delaney of Maryland – who announced his run for president in July of last year – has tossed his hat officially into the ring.

Many others are expected to follow soon.

FOX NEWS POLL ON PRESIDENT TRUMP'S RE-ELECTION PROSPECTS

Looking ahead to the possibility of a field of up to 20 candidates or more, Castro said: “That’s going to be fantastic for Democrats because you’re going to get to hear from any number of people with different perspectives and everybody’s going to have their voice heard and I think that’s going to be cathartic in fact for the party, after some of the bitterness of 2016.”

But, he said his move wasn’t an attempt to beat other White House hopefuls to the punch.

“For me, I’m going on my own timeline,” he explained. “I’m going to get out there and talk to folks in New Hampshire and across the country regardless of what other people are doing.”

Before heading out on the campaign trail, Castro and his twin brother, Rep. Joaquín Castro of Texas, will be in New York on Thursday evening, for some national exposure. Both Castors are scheduled to sit down with Stephen Colbert on "The Late Show" on CBS.

Fox News’ Peter Doocy contributed to this report.

Paul Steinhauser is a politics reporter based in New Hampshire.

Trump critic Tulsi Gabbard is latest Dem to be ‘seriously considering’ 2020 run: reports

The list of Democrats eyeing the White House may be getting longer: U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, is said to be "seriously considering" a 2020 presidential bid, according to reports.

Gabbard, the first Hindu-American elected to Congress, paid a visit to New Hampshire last week, a state that has held the nation's first presidential primary every four years, the Hawaii Civil Beat reported.

“As I have throughout my life in making the different decisions that I’ve made, I am thinking about how I can best be of service to the people of this country,” Gabbard said, according to the paper.

Gabbard, who was recently re-elected to a fourth term representing the Hawaii's 2nd Congressional District, said she did not have any timetable for deciding on a White House bid, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.

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She was a major in the Hawaii Army National Guard and served two tours of duty in the Middle East.

Gabbard, 37, strongly supports the House of Representatives' "Medicare for all" bill and getting big money out of politics, the Star-Advertiser reported.

Last month, Gabbard made headlines for referring to President Trump as "Saudi Arabia's b—-," after the president argued for the importance of a strong U.S-Saudi relationship amid calls for him to take a tougher stance on the kingdom in response to the killing of writer Jamal Khashoggi.

But Gabbard has herself faced criticism for meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in 2017 in Damascus.

Gabbard also faced criticism during her re-election campaign for shying away from debating her primary opponent, continuing a pattern that has developed since she was first elected to Congress.

Ironically, Gabbard resigned from her position with the Democratic National Committee in 2016 because she believed the party hadn't scheduled enough debates among its presidential candidates that year.

Also said to be considering a 2020 presidential run is Texas Democrat Julian Castro, former President Obama's housing chief.

Castro, 44, launched a 2020 presidential exploratory committee this week.

“Americans are ready to climb out of this darkness. We’re ready to keep our promises. And we’re not going to wait. We’re going to work,” Castro, 44, said in a video. “That’s why I’m exploring a candidacy for president of the United States in 2020.”

An exploratory committee usually is a formality before a candidate launches a presidential campaign. It legally allows potential candidates to begin raising money.

The former San Antonio mayor said his official decision will be announced on Jan. 12. Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, along with former Vice President Joe Biden and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, are also potential presidential candidates.

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Another well-funded set, including Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke, Bloomberg and Steyer, believe they can afford to wait slightly longer to announce their intentions given their fundraising prowess.

Previously mulling a 2020 presidential bid was firebrand attorney Michael Avenatti, politically famous for representing porn star Stormy Daniels.

He announced early this month that he will not run for the White House in 2020, citing family concerns for his decision.

“After consultation with my family and at their request, I have decided not to seek the Presidency of the United States in 2020. I do not make this decision lightly—I make it out of respect for my family. But for their concerns, I would run,” Avenatti said in a statement posted on Twitter.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick also bowed out of the 2020 presidential contest last week, citing the "cruelty of our elections process" and the effect it would have on his loved ones.

"After a lot of conversation, reflection and prayer, I've decided that a 2020 campaign for president is not for me," Patrick, 62, posted on his Facebook page.

Fox News’ Adam Shaw and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Amy Lieu is a news editor and reporter for Fox News.

Texans line up overnight to bid farewell to George H.W. Bush before morning service

After the body of former President George H.W. Bush arrived back from Washington on Wednesday, Texans lined up by the thousands outside a Houston church, eager to pay their final respects before Thursday morning's service.

The casket of the nation's 41st president, who died last week at age 94, was on view at St. Martin's Episcopal Church, where his family worshipped and where services for former first lady Barbara Bush were held after she died in April.

During the night, the line into the church moved slowly — halting whenever mourners stopped in front of the casket to cross themselves or otherwise acknowledge Bush.

Jim McGrath, the Bush family spokesman, said about 5,000 people had passed through the Secret Service security checkpoint for the repose, with wait times under an hour.

Earlier Wednesday, the first people in line arrived in the morning, almost 10 hours before the church was scheduled to open to visitors.

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Pennie Werth-Bobian, 56, of Tomball, was at the front of the line. She said that she used to visit with Bush while a friend of hers cut his hair and that they became friends. She said the second time they met, he told her to call him George.

GEORGE H.W. BUSH'S CASKET ARRIVES IN HOUSTON EN ROUTE TO FINAL RESTING PLACE

Jennifer Dawson worked for the 41st president when his son George W. Bush was president, she told Fox 26 Houston.

"He was the most wonderful father and husband and he just loved his family," she said. "He was absolutely the most down-to-earth, real-life person I've ever met in my life."

Jan Robertson, a U.S. history teacher at George Bush High School, told the Houston Chronicle that she began teaching during the elder Bush's presidency and has kept tabs on the Bush family ever since.

“They’re the type of people I wish more people were like,” Robertson said. “They talked about giving back to society and service.”

Texan Maria Lourdres Torres told the Chronicle that she rushed home from work to say goodbye to the president. She said she spent hours waiting for her chance to pay respects.

A funeral service will be held at the church Thursday morning, where about 1,200 mourners are expected to attend.

Scheduled to deliver one eulogy is James Baker, Bush's secretary of state, campaign manager and confidant of several decades. Baker was with Bush just before the former president died.

Bush's grandson George P. Bush will give the other eulogy. He is the son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and serves as Texas land commissioner, the third generation of Bushes to win elected office in the state.

The country music group the Oak Ridge Boys will perform "Amazing Grace." Country star Reba McEntire will also sing. The 41st president was a noted fan of country music.

A special train will then take the casket to the Bush presidential library on the campus of Texas A&M University in College Station.

The train will take about two and a half hours to travel roughly 70 miles, allowing people to pay their respects along the way.

Hundreds of people will be waiting, including Texas A&M leaders, staff from the president's foundation and library and students from the Bush School of Government and Public Service.

The Bush family will be taken to the presidential library, where Navy planes will fly over in a "missing man" formation. Bush was a Navy pilot who was shot down during World War II.

Bush will be buried at his presidential library next to his wife, Barbara, and their daughter Robin, who died of leukemia in 1953 at age 3.

There will be a 21-gun cannon salute after the Lord's Prayer is recited.

The American flag will be presented at the end of the service to his daughter Doro Bush Koch.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Amy Lieu is a news editor and reporter for Fox News.

Bush family wants funeral that avoids anti-Trump sentiment: report

The Bush family has taken great care to assure that services being held to honor the life and legacy of former President George H.W. Bush do not become a political platform for anti-Trump swipes.

Such rhetoric was prominent in services for the late Sen. John McCain three months ago.

But with the Bush family patriarch's casket lying in State at the U.S. Capitol this week ahead of Wednesday services in Washington, efforts have been made to avoid a politicized funeral. The family already contacted the White House this past summer saying that President Trump would be welcome at H.W. Bush’s services — and assured Trump that the focus would be on the 41st U.S. president’s life rather than their disagreements, The Washington Post reported, citing a former administration official.

"This will be about the celebration of the noble public service that George H.W. Bush gave. It’s not going to be about anybody else. I don’t think it’s going to be about Trump," a former Bush associate told Politico.

While Trump and the Bush family have had their differences, the White House has sought to honor the 41st president's legacy. Trump and first lady Melania Trump paid their respects at the Capitol Monday night.

A person close to the funeral preparations told The Post that the tone of Wednesday’s funeral at the Washington National Cathedral will reflect the sense of propriety of Bush, who "wouldn't want anyone there to feel uncomfortable, including the incumbent president."

“If anybody at any time knew anything about the 41st president of the United States, they would completely and totally understand that he would welcome the current occupant 100 percent,” an aide in the office of the former president told the publication. “This is the way the country says goodbye to presidents.”

Trump had the final say over important funeral details, the person said, including providing Air Force One to carry the former president’s body from Texas to Washington for the funeral and back to Texas on Thursday for another service and burial.

The Trump White House has accommodated all the Bush family’s requests for the state funeral. The Bush family will be able to stay at Blair House, the official guesthouse across the street from the White House, a person familiar with the planning told The Post.

Melania Trump, who represented the White House at former first lady Barbara Bush’s funeral in April, was struck by the Bush family’s graciousness toward her, one official told The Post. She conveyed that to the president, who did not attend that funeral, the official said.

Amy Lieu is a news editor and reporter for Fox News.

Bush family wants funeral that avoids anti-Trump sentiment: report

The Bush family contacted the White House this past summer saying that President Trump would be welcome at George H.W. Bush’s funeral and assured Trump that the focus would be on the 41st U.S. president’s life rather than their disagreements, The Washington Post reported, citing a former administration official.

"This will be about the celebration of the noble public service that George H.W. Bush gave. It’s not going to be about anybody else. I don’t think it’s going to be about Trump," a former Bush associate told Politico.

A person close to the funeral preparations told The Post that the tone of Wednesday’s funeral at the Washington National Cathedral will reflect the sense of propriety of Bush, who "wouldn't want anyone there to feel uncomfortable, including the incumbent president."

“If anybody at any time knew anything about the 41st president of the United States, they would completely and totally understand that he would welcome the current occupant 100 percent,” an aide in the office of the former president told the publication. “This is the way the country says goodbye to presidents.”

Trump had the final say over important funeral details, the person said, including providing Air Force One to carry the former president’s body from Texas to Washington for the funeral and back to Texas on Thursday for another service and burial.

The Trump White House has accommodated all the Bush family’s requests for the state funeral. The Bush family will be able to stay at Blair House, the official guesthouse across the street from the White House, a person familiar with the planning told The Post.

First lady Melania Trump, who represented the White House at former first lady Barbara Bush’s funeral in April, was struck by the Bush family’s graciousness toward her, one official told The Post. She conveyed that to the president, who did not attend that funeral, the official said.

Amy Lieu is a news editor and reporter for Fox News.

George H.W. Bush’s love of quirky socks: An unlikely fashion icon

Former President George H.W. Bush may not necessarily have been known for flare when it came to his clothing choices, but he will go down in history as an unlikely fashion icon for his array of colorful and quirky socks.

Bush died Friday at age 94 about eight months after the death of his wife, Barbara Bush. Bush is remembered for his lifetime spent in public service, serving in World War II and being a fashion icon.

Bush previously spoke about his socks in an email from the Republican National Committee, proclaiming his love for the garment.

GEORGE H.W. BUSH, 41ST PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, DEAD AT 94

“I’m a self-proclaimed sock man,” Bush said, according to USA Today. "The louder, the brighter, the crazier the pattern – the better.”

A shopper can purchase “George H.W. Bush socks” for a donation on GOP.com.

The book-themed socks Bush wore to honor his late wife in April went viral. He wore the socks to honor the former first lady’s commitment to literacy.

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Jim McGrath, Bush’s former White House spokesperson, tweeted about the socks.

FORMER PRESIDENT GEORGE H.W. BUSH HONORS LATE WIFE’S COMMITMENT TO LITERACY BY WEARING SOCKS WITH BOOKS

"To honor his wife of 73 years and her commitment to family literacy, for which she raised over $110 million over the course of over 30 years, George H.W. Bush will be wearing a pair of socks festooned with books at today's funeral service for former first lady Barbara Bush," McGrath tweeted.

In March, Bush wore socks that said “vote” to encourage Texans to vote. Later in June, the former commander in chief wore a pair of socks with former President Bill Clinton’s face on them during a meeting with him.

Bush often tweeted pictures of his quirky socks, proudly showing them off to his followers.

Kathleen Joyce is a breaking/trending news producer for FoxNews.com. You can follow her at @Kathleen_Joyce8 on Twitter.

George H.W. Bush’s children and grandchildren pay homage to late president

Former President George H.W. Bush’s family celebrated his life and paid homage to the late commander in chief after he died Friday at age 94.

His son former President George W. Bush released a statement following his father’s death.

"Jeb, Neil, Marvin, Doro, and I are saddened to announce that after 94 remarkable years, our dear Dad has died. George H.W. Bush was a man of the highest character and the best dad a son or daughter could ask for. The entire Bush family is deeply grateful for 41's life and love, for the compassion of those who have cared and prayed for Dad, and for the condolences of our friends and fellow citizens."

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush tweeted Saturday, “I already miss the greatest human being that I will ever know. Love you Dad!”

Jenna Bush Hager, Bush’s granddaughter, shared her condolences on Instagram Saturday morning.

“Waking up missing this giant of a man who gave me everything,” she wrote. “He taught me and my family about service, family, decency, the power of gentle words and a beautiful heart. I will miss him desperately but so happy he and my grandmother are back together.”

She also posted a political cartoon showing her grandfather being reunited with her grandmother and Robin, their daughter who died of leukemia in 1953.

“This brought me such comfort this morning,” she wrote. “I had the opportunity to talk with my grandpa about the afterlife.”

Bush’s grandson George P. Bush, the commissioner of the Texas General Land Office, called his grandfather the “greatest man” he knew.

“My grandfather was the greatest man I ever knew,” he tweeted. “His life spanned the American Century – he fought in World War II …. Took part in the Texas oil boom … served out a distinguished career in public service including serving as president during the final days of the Cold War.”

Bush is expected to lie in state in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda. He is survived by five children and 17 grandchildren.

Kathleen Joyce is a breaking/trending news producer for FoxNews.com. You can follow her at @Kathleen_Joyce8 on Twitter.

‘SNL’ pays tribute to Bush 41 with montage of Dana Carvey’s impressions

“Saturday Night Live” paid tribute to former President George H.W. Bush in the wake of his death with a compilation of former cast member Dana Carvey’s impressions of the late president.

The tribute came in the final moments of the show's "Weekend Update" segment, as the montage showed Carvey poking fun at Bush during his presidency.

“President Bush was always a warm and gracious man who understood the power at laughing at yourself,” "Weekend Update" co-host Colin Jost said.

The clips featured Carvey portraying Bush, using exaggerated hand gestures and famous catchphrases such as "Not gonna do it," "Wouldn't be prudent," and "Thousand points of light," a reference to Bush's initiative to encourage volunteerism.

The tribute ended with the real Bush and Carvey's Bush on a split screen.

“I'm watching you do your impression of me, and I gotta say. It's nothing like me," Bush said. "There's no resemblance. It's bad. It's bad."

In 1992, Bush invited Carvey to the White House Christmas party to perform.

"Dana has given me a lot of laughs," the president said during the occasion. "And the fact that we can laugh at each other is a very fundamental thing."

Carvey's impressions eventually led to a longtime friendship between the pair.

Former President George H.W. Bush, fondly remembered and widely praised for service

Soon after news broke that former President George H.W. Bush had died Friday at age 94, tributes and remembrances started arriving from President Trump, past White House occupants and members of the Bush administration — as well as friends and admirers of the former commander in chief and his family.

Trump, in Argentina for the G20 summit, issued a statement on behalf of himself and first lady Melania Trump. It read in part: "Melania and I join with a grieving Nation to mourn the loss of former President George H.W. Bush, who passed away last night.

"Through his essential authenticity, disarming wit, and unwavering commitment to faith, family, and country, President Bush inspired generations of his fellow Americans to public service — to be, in his words, “a thousand points of light” illuminating the greatness, hope, and opportunity of America to the world."

REMEMBERING GEORGE H.W. BUSH

The White House confirmed Saturday morning that the Trumps would attend Bush's funeral.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told Fox News: “The president and first lady were notified late last night of President George H.W. Bush’s passing. President Trump is scheduled to speak with President George W. Bush this morning and offer his condolences on behalf of himself, the first lady and the entire country. A state funeral is being arranged with all of the accompanying support and honors."

She said Trump was designating Wednesday a "National Day Of Mourning. He and the first lady will attend the funeral at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.”

Former President George W. Bush, 41's eldest son and the nation's 43rd president, posted a photo of his parents boarding Marine One with the caption, "Jeb, Neil, Marvin, Doro, and I are saddened to announce that after 94 remarkable years, our dear Dad has died. George H.W. Bush was a man of the highest character and the best dad a son or daughter could ask for. The entire Bush family is deeply grateful for 41's life and love, for the compassion of those who have cared and prayed for Dad, and for the condolences of our friends and fellow citizens."

Former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama called Bush a "patriot" and a "humble servant" in a statement, and praised him for expelling former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein from Kuwait and helping to bring about a peaceful end to the Cold War.

The Obamas credited him with "expanding America's promise to new immigrants and people with disabilities. Reducing the scourge of nuclear weapons and building a broad international coalition to expel a dictator from Kuwait. And when democratic revolutions bloomed across Eastern Europe, it was his steady, diplomatic hand that made possible an achievement once thought anything but – ending the Cold War without firing a shot.

"George H.W. Bush's life is a testament to the notion that public service is a noble, joyous calling," the statement read. "It's a legacy of service that will never be matched, even though he'd want all of us to try."

In a statement released by former Vice President Joe Biden, he wrote that the "nation has lost a great leader" amid the death of the 41st president. He also reflected on Bush's kindness while remembering a trip his family had taken to Houston in 2015 "to honor the doctors that cared for our deceased son Beau."

"President Bush insisted on coming out to see us. He wanted to personally welcome us to Houston and offer his condolences for the loss of our son," Biden recalled. "That was George H.W. Bush — decent, kind, and welcoming. With President Bush it was seldom about himself. Always about others. His life of service was legendary."

While noting the former president's military service and his time in government, "Bush chose a path of service," Biden said.

"Over the course of the many years we worked with together — and against each other — on the biggest issues of the day, differences of policy were always based on substance. It was never personal. It was never petty. It was always with respect for our institutions and the people they govern," Biden said. "As we mourn his passing today, we remember a life totally and completely dedicated to the country he loved."

Another White House alumnus, Bill Clinton, said he and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton "mourn the passing of President George H.W. Bush, and give thanks for his great long life of service, love, and friendship.

"I will be forever grateful for the friendship we formed. From the moment I met him as a young governor invited to his home in Kennebunkport, I was struck by the kindness he showed to Chelsea, by his innate and genuine decency, and by his devotion to Barbara, his children, and their growing brood."

Hillary Clinton echoed her husband's sentiments, describing Bush as "a beloved father & grandfather, a war hero, a public servant, & a class act."

"In my experiences w/ him, I always valued his desire to listen, look at evidence & ask for ideas, even from people w/ different beliefs," she tweeted. "My heart goes out to the entire Bush family."

The daughters of the late former President Richard Nixon also paid tribute to Bush's life and public service.

"Our father believed in George H.W. Bush," a statement from Tricia Nixon Cox and Julie Nixon Eisenhower said. "George H.W. Bush lived a life that was purposeful, and extraordinary rewarding — for out nation, and for our world."

As for Bush predecessor Jimmy Carter, he, too, had words of tribute to offer on his family's behalf: "Rosalynn and I are deeply saddened by the death of former President George H.W. Bush. His administration was marked by grace, civility, and social conscience. Through his Points of Light initiative and other projects, he espoused a uniquely American volunteer spirit, fostering bipartisan support for citizen service and inspiring millions to embrace community volunteerism as a cherished responsibility. We again extend our heartfelt condolences to the Bush family."

George P. Bush, said his grandfather was the "greatest man I ever knew."

Dan Quayle, who served as vice president under the senior Bush, was considered by many a surprise choice when Bush selected the senator and former congressman from Indiana as his running mate in 1988.

"As so many Americans did, I had true affection for the man George Bush," Quayle said in a statement. "He was a completely genuine, decent and honorable person. What’s more, he went into and out of the office as absolutely the same man. I think that exemplifies his character. I have often told my children, 'If you want a role model in your life — look to President George Herbert Walker Bush.' The world mourns the loss of a great American. But, it also celebrates a life well lived."

"As so many Americans did, I had true affection for the man George Bush. He was a completely genuine, decent and honorable person. What’s more, he went into and out of the office as absolutely the same man."

— Dan Quayle, former vice president

Former Vice President Dick Cheney, who served as secretary of defense under the 41st president, recounted his time in the administration.

"They were not tranquil times, and American leadership was tested repeatedly – in Central America, in Europe, in the Middle East. Our president was more than equal to the challenges, managing events with calmness and clear thinking, and emerging as one of the most respected statesmen of his era.  This was never truer than in days of war, when he showed real courage and real wisdom – and never forgot the young Americans under his command.

"George Bush was a president who welcomed responsibility, kept his nerve, stood behind his team, and brought out the best in all of us.  It was easy to feel loyalty and affection for him because he was such a thoroughly admirable and decent man.  He had no illusions about politics or life, but there wasn’t a trace of cynicism in him.  His sense of duty and code of honor were uncompromising, yet he carried himself with gentle ease and without pretense or self-regard.  If you knew George Bush you felt lucky and proud, and you always looked forward to being in his company.

"Our forty-first president leaves a legacy of public service and character that will stand down the ages.  He was also my good friend for more than 40 years, and I will miss him."

Former Vice President Al Gore said Bush inspired others to volunteer in their communities through his Thousand Points of Light initiative.

James A. Baker III, secretary of state and White House chief of staff during the Bush administration (1989-1993), said in a statement that the late president's legacy "will be forever etched in the history of America and the world."

Aug. 20, 1991: President George H.W. Bush, flanked by Secretary of State James Baker III, left, and U. S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union Robert Strauss, points to a reporter during a Rose Garden press conference at the White House. (Associated Press)

"It is a lifelong record of selfless patriotic service to our nation," Baker continued. "He was the youngest Navy pilot in World War II, a Texas congressman, UN ambassador, America’s first envoy to China, CIA director, vice president and president.

"In each and every one of these positions, he led with strength, integrity, compassion and humility — characteristics that define a truly great man and effective leader. With a singularly unique consistency, he always demonstrated these traits, whether on the global stage or interacting with people in his everyday life. His passion was a deep love of family and our country. It was my pleasure and great joy to have had him as my special friend for more than 60 years. Susan joins me in grieving the passing of our dear friend and sending the entire Bush family our deepest love and condolences."

"His passion was a deep love of family and our country. It was my pleasure and great joy to have had him as my special friend for more than 60 years. Susan joins me in grieving the passing of our dear friend and sending the entire Bush family our deepest love and condolences."

— James A. Baker III, former U.S. secretary of state

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Bush "was the epitome of a public servant. He loved America with all of his heart and served her as fully and completely as anyone ever has.

"I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to work for him, to learn from him and to experience his deep and abiding commitment to his fellow citizens. He was a mentor to me and a dear friend."

The former president was also director of the CIA, and the agency issued a statement from its current director, Gina C. Haspel, saying: "We’ve lost a great champion of the Agency—an accomplished Director, faithful advocate, and dear friend—with the passing of former President George H.W. Bush.  As a heroic Navy pilot in the Second World War, a skilled statesman who deftly managed the collapse of the Soviet Union and liberated Kuwait from Saddam Husayn’s aggression, and a committed citizen who remained engaged in public service throughout his later years, President Bush exemplified the virtues of patriotism, duty, and compassion.  Officers here at the George Bush Center for Intelligence and deployed around the globe honor the memory of a great American.  On behalf of the men and women of CIA, I extend our heartfelt condolences to the Bush family.”

The British monarch Queen Elizabeth II released a statement expressing her condolences to the Bush family while describing the former president as "a great friend and ally of the United Kingdom."

"It was with sadness that I learned of the death of President George H W Bush last night," the statement read. "He was also a patriot, serving his country with honour and distinction in Office and during the Second World War. Prince Philip and I remember our days in Texas in 1991 with great fondness. My thoughts and prayers are with President Bush’s family and the American people.”

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said a statement on Bush's death would come Saturday morning, but simply tweeted "Rest In Peace, President Bush."

House Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi wrote of the former president's "duty, sacrifice, commitment and patriotism."

"President Bush profoundly believed in the power of ordinary Americans to make a difference," she said in a statement. "His belief in a ‘kinder, gentler’ America encouraged people to embrace the spirit of service and encouraged them to share his vision of ‘a thousand points of light.’  We will all remember his great humility, unwavering compassion, deep faith and extraordinary kindness in and out of the political arena."

Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis wrote, "President George Herbert Walker Bush, naval aviator, decorated in his youth for valor in combat, took his experience in war to build a better world as our commander in chief. His service to our nation demonstrated how we as a people can draw on our humility, diversity and devotion to our country to meet every challenge with fortitude and confidence. We will miss him, but at the going down of the day, his example will long guide our Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen and Marines for how to live life without regret."

The U.S. Navy tweeted out a memorial of the former president, who enlisted when he turned 18. The memorial cited a common mariner wish, "Fair winds and following seas, Sir. We have the watch."

Justice Clarence Thomas, who was nominated to the Supreme Court by 41 in 1991, said,:"It is with deep and profound sadness that Virginia and I learned of the passing of President Bush. I was honored to be nominated by him to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and the Supreme Court of the United States. Both he and Mrs. Bush were the essence of decency and kindness then and throughout the years. Virginia and I extend our thoughts and prayers to the entire Bush family."

And Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice John G. Roberts Jr., said the former president was, "an extraordinary American patriot and fundamentally decent man.  I extend my heartfelt condolences to the Bush family."

Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas and Republican presidential candidate, said: "I first met President George HW Bush in 1980 in Little Rock when he was a candidate for President.  He ultimately became Ronald Reagan's Vice-President and I met him again at a Bassmaster's Classic in Pine Bluff, Arkansas where he (an avid angler) presented the trophies. When I ran for my first political race, he was running for re-election as President and he called me to encourage me. That he took the time to do that was remarkable.

"He was a thoughtful leader, and his life was one of sacrifice and service, starting with his heroic service as a fighter pilot in WWII where he was shot down in the Pacific, but survived to start his own business in Midland, Texas, later became Congressman, Ambassador, Director of the CIA, Chairman of the GOP, Vice President, President, and forever senior statesman and patriarch until his death after a long, adventurous and exceptional life.  Janet and I are saddened to learn that his exceptional life has ended, but celebrate a life 'Done Well.'"

Outgoing Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., offered his condolences in a tweet, adding that “We all owe a debt of gratitude for his honorable and humble service to the nation, and for his enduring example of kindness.”

Former Texas governor and current Energy Secretary Rick Perry posted a photo of him and Bush on Instagram.

"Honoring a great & good man who inspired all," the post read. "We are all better knowing this fine gentleman. Gig 'em & God Bless."

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., honored the former president's "qualities he once described as ‘those little touches of grace and affection and humor that make life sing.’"

“George H.W. Bush was a man for all seasons. He was great in his impact, making the world safer and freer. He was great in his character, leading with decency and integrity. A war hero and statesman, the country is inspired by his example.

“Like so many Americans, I admired President Bush not only for how he served but for how he lived. He took pride in being a family man. The affection he showed for his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren was so endearing. His 73 years of marriage to Barbara marks a long and beautiful love story."

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., remembered Bush as a "wise and generous man."

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) said, “A bright point of light has gone out in the world.”

He continued, “From start to finish, George Bush was a fighter for the cause of freedom. He began his public service in a Navy bomber, where he helped defeat the Axis Powers in World War II. He capped his public service in the Oval Office, where he oversaw the fall of the Berlin Wall and then the Soviet Union…. His life is a model of dignity, effective leadership, and patriotism…. Judy and I extend our deepest condolences to the Bush family as they mourn the loss of a father, grandfather, and American hero.”

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., called Bush “a class act,” in a tweet, adding that “he loved this country and spent a lifetime in its service.”

Franklin Graham, the son of the late evangelist Billy Graham and president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, also remembered Bush in a Twitter message.

"President and Mrs. Bush were friends of my parents’ through the years. May God bring comfort to all the Bush family," he tweeted.

"He inspired countless Americans to volunteer and improve their communities through his Points of Light Foundation. President Bush leaves behind an American legacy of a lifetime of service that will be revered for generations," his statement said.

Fox News’ Elizabeth Zwirz contributed to this report.

George H.W. Bush’s love for baseball: From meeting Babe Ruth to cheering the Astros in the World Series

Late President George H.W. Bush died Friday and was largely known for his work in public office but besides politics, the former president was a huge fan of America’s pastime.

When he was a student at Yale University, he was the captain of the baseball team and played in the first-ever College World Series in 1947. The team went on to participate in two College World Series but lost. Following his death Friday, a photo of Bush standing with baseball great Babe Ruth in 1948 went viral. Ruth was at Yale University to donate a manuscript of his autobiography to the college, USA Today reported.

Babe Ruth and George H.W. Bush in 1948.  (AP)

GEORGE H.W. BUSH, 41ST PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, DEAD AT 94

Following school, Bush moved to Texas with his wife Barbara and ran for Congress where he served two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was appointed to a series of high-level political positions before he was elected to the highest office in the land. He kept his baseball mitt in the desk drawer in the Oval Office, according to Yahoo Sports, never forgetting his days playing at Yale University.

Former President George H.W. Bush was the captain of the Yale baseball team. (AP)

Bush and his wife would try to catch the Houston Astros play whenever they could, the Houston Chronicle reported. His son, George W. Bush, was the managing general partner of the Texas Rangers from 1989 to 1994.

FORMER PRESIDENT GEORGE H.W. BUSH REMEMBERED AND PRAISED FOR SERVICE

Reid Ryan, the president of the Houston Astros’ business operations, tweeted his condolences to Bush’s family.

Video

“I was honored to know President H.W. Bush. His love for our country and all things American made a lasting impression on me. He treated people with respect and always put family first. These are life lessons we should all emulate,” Ryan tweeted.

Bush also delivered the ceremonial first pitch during the American League Championship Series between the Astros and Royals. He also came onto the field during Game 5 of the 2017 World Series. His beloved Astros won their first World Series title.

Former President George H.W. Bush threw out a ceremonial first pitch at Game 5 of the World Series between the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers. (Getty Images)

The former president died Friday at his Houston home. He was 94.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Kathleen Joyce is a breaking/trending news producer for FoxNews.com. You can follow her at @Kathleen_Joyce8 on Twitter.