Barbara Bush was counting down the days until Trump left office

Barbara Bush was the mother of one the nation’s most prominent political families and once lived in the White House — yet apparently there’s a lot that the American public didn’t know about the late first lady.

For example, she no longer considered herself a Republican at the end of her life, and she blamed President Donald Trump for her heart problems, as reported in the upcoming book “The Matriarch: Barbara Bush and the Making of an American Dynasty.” Author Susan Page, the Washington bureau chief of USA Today, which shared excerpts from the book on Wednesday, drew from interviews with the former first lady during the final six months of her life, plus access to decades of her diary entries. And Page learned that Bush had changed her party allegiance just two months before she passed away in 2018.

Did she still consider herself a Republican?

— Excerpt from “The Matriach”

The book, hitting shelves on April 2, claims that she held negative opinions of Trump for decades. She wrote in a 1990 diary entry about Trump’s separation from his first wife, Ivana, and their reported $25 million settlement that:

“The Trumps are a new word, both of them. Trump now means Greed, selfishness and ugly. So sad.”

— Barbara Bush

Bush also blamed Trump for a June 2016 cardiovascular event — not technically a heart attack, but a “crisis in her long battle with congestive heart failure and chronic pulmonary disease that hit her like a sledgehammer one day” after Trump made fun of her son, Jeb Bush, which filled her with so much “angst” that she was rushed to the hospital.

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She also couldn’t imagine Trump winning the White House, where she lived for four years and had a close relationship with for another eight years as both the first and second lady of the U.S., as the wife of George H.W. Bush. She also “expressed astonishment” that women could support him. “I don’t understand why people are for him,” she said in one interview with Page — not that she supported Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential bid, either. In fact, she wrote in her son Jeb’s name on her ballot on the last day of early voting, writing in her diary, “I could not vote for Trump or Clinton.” But come November 2016, “I woke up and discovered, to my horror, that Trump had won.”

How did she think things were going in the USA in the Age of Trump?

— Excerpt from “The Matriarch”

So a friend who was privy to Bush’s feelings about the current commander-in-chief gave her a red, white and blue digital countdown clock that displayed how many days, hours, minutes and seconds remained in Trump’s first term.

“She parked it on the side table in her bedroom, next to the chair she would sit in to needlepoint or watch television,” according to the book. “She liked the countdown clock so much that when the Bushes returned to Houston that October, she brought it with her. It sat on her bedside table, where she could see it every day. It was there to the day she died.”

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