Barbara Bush: Did she still consider herself a Republican? 'I'd probably say no today.'

e683934708a14420ac04c58d9013da63TheMatriarch11
e683934708a14420ac04c58d9013da63TheMatriarch11

EXCLUSIVE: This story is adapted from The Matriarch: Barbara Bush and the Making of an American Dynasty, which will be published April 2 by Twelve Books. Author Susan Page, the Washington Bureau chief of USA TODAY, spent hours interviewing the former first lady during the final six months of Bush’s life and was given access to her personal diaries spanning decades.

Barbara Bush blamed Donald Trump for her heart attack.

It wasn’t technically a heart attack, though she called it that. It was a crisis in her long battle with congestive heart failure and chronic pulmonary disease that hit her like a sledgehammer one day in June 2016. An ambulance was called to take her to the hospital. The two former presidents who had been at home with her that day, her husband and her oldest son, trailed in a car driven by the Secret Service. The tumultuous presidential campaign in general and Trump’s ridicule of son Jeb Bush in particular had riled her. “Angst,” she told me.

Afterward, Jeb, whose presidential campaign was already history, urged her to let it go, to focus on herself and have faith in the country.

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