Donald Trump

George H.W. Bush Recovering; Barbara ‘1,000 Percent Better'

Doctors removed Bush's breathing tube

What to Know

  • Former President George H.W. Bush treated for pneumonia. He's stable in the ICU and hopes to be discharged in a few days.
  • Former first lady Barbara Bush, 91, treated for bronchitis after experiencing fatigue, coughing; reports feeling 1000% better Thursday.
  • Former President George W. Bush and wife Laura attended the inauguration and have no immediate plans to travel to Houston.

Former President George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara, remain hospitalized in Houston Friday, where he is in intensive care for pneumonia and she is being treated for bronchitis.

The 92-year-old former president went into the ICU on Wednesday and was intubated "to protect and clear his airway that required sedation," family spokesman Jim McGrath said in a statement.

On Thursday, McGrath said Bush had a good night's rest and was stable. On Friday, McGrath said in a statement that a breathing tube had been removed and that Bush was breathing well on his own with minimal supplemental oxygen.

Bush was comfortably watching Friday's inauguration on television with his wife, former first lady Barbara Bush, his son Neil and daughter-in-law Maria.

"All the good wishes and the prayers are obviously working because today’s a better day," McGrath said Friday.

Former President George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara, remain hospitalized in Houston, where he is in intensive care for pneumonia and she is being treated for bronchitis.

The 41st president was placed in the ICU to address "an acute respiratory problem stemming from pneumonia," McGrath previously 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."

Bush may be hospitalized and in intensive care, but the 41st president's twitter account is active, offering "hearty congrats" earlier in the week to former Houston Astros baseball player Jeff Bagwell on his election to the baseball Hall of Fame.

Bush spokesman Jim McGrath says while the 92-year-old Bush didn't physically type the tweet Thursday, he did approve it from his room at Houston's Methodist Hospital.

Bush calls the Astros' slugging first baseman a "good friend and great player" and that his election Wednesday into Cooperstown is well deserved.

Bush also was a first baseman when he attended Yale, and was captain of the Yale team that played in the first College World Series in 1947.  As president, he kept his first baseman's glove in his desk in the Oval Office, and he and Barbara Bush frequently have attended Astros games since he left the White House.

Barbara Bush Feeling 1,000 Percent Better

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." He described the move as precautionary.

The former first lady was experiencing fatigue and coughing when she checked into Houston Methodist Hospital on Wednesday, just days after her 92-year-old husband was admitted for treatment of pneumonia.

McGrath said "antibiotics and some good rest seemed to have restored her to better health" after she reported feeling "1,000 percent better" Thursday morning.

Friday McGrath said the former first lady continues to improve and is focusing on spending time with her husband. She is expected to remain in the hospital over the weekend as a precaution.

Guests, Prayers, Messages Lift Bushes Spirits

McGrath added Thursday that the Bushes were uplifted by a visit from friends Jim and Susan Baker and that they are deeply appreciative for the care they are receiving and the prayers from far and wide.

President-elect Donald Trump and President Barack Obama have 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."

The Bushes son, former President George W. Bush, offered thanks on Instagram Thursday for messages "of love and support for Mother and Dad."

"Your prayers are working: 41 and Mom are doing much better today and fighting on," he said in his first public comments about their illnesses. He and his wife, former first lady Laura Bush, were at Trump's inauguration on Friday.

Bush Family History

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.

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, attended the inauguration and has no immediately plans to travel to Houston, spokesman Freddy Ford said.

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.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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