Former President George H. W. Bush will become the oldest president in the history of the United States Friday, with a lifespan of 93 years and 165 days.
Bush surpassed the record for longest lifespan set by President Gerald Ford, who died in 2006. Bush previously passed President Ronald Reagan, who previously held the number two spot, in October.
Bush acted as president from 1989 to 1993, having previously served in a variety of positions including director of central intelligence and vice president under the Reagan administration. He ran for reelection in 1992, losing to then-Governor of Arkansas Bill Clinton.
In addition to his lengthy lifespan, Bush is distinguished by his lengthy post-presidency. Having lived 24 years after leaving office, his post-presidency is the fifth longest of any president. The longest is 36 years, a record held by Jimmy Carter.
Carter also trails Bush closely in age. At 93 years and 46 days of age, Carter currently holds the record for fourth longest lifespan for a president.
Among living current and former presidents, Bush and Carter are followed by incumbent President Donald Trump; Bush’s son, former President George W. Bush; and former President Bill Clinton. Trump, the younger Bush, and Clinton are all 71 years old. The remaining living president is former President Barack Obama, who is one of the youngest former presidents in U.S. history at 56 years old.
Jarrett Cathcart, who serves as Chairman of College Republicans at UCF, said of Bush’s post-presidency, “He’s been a recent inspiration to the country through his continued victories over pneumonia and an appearance with [his son, former President George W. Bush] at Game 5 of the World Series.”
“His presidency was notable, as it saw the passing of the ADA and several other initiatives that focused on improving the state of the US and the well-being of its citizens,” Cathcart, a senior, said. “He appointed Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court, whose dedication to the Constitution continues today, and he swiftly restored order to the Middle East with the successful Gulf War.”
Spencer Kovach, Vice President of Young Americans for Liberty at UCF, offered a list of “pros” and “cons” of Bush’s presidency, citing his “easy peasy” win in the Gulf War as one of his presidency’s strengths.
Kovach criticized Bush for raising taxes — which infamously breaking a campaign promise — failing to reduce the deficit, and doing a “bad job of carrying on Reagan’s legacy.”
Manny Orozco Ballestas, who recently graduated from UCF and currently works for the environmentalist group NextGen America, spoke positively of Bush.
“Politics aside, 41 is a decent man,” he said. “While I may not historically agree with his policies, I respect and honor his service and lifetime commitment to our country.”
He continued: “As a Democrat living through the Trump doctrine, I can only hope the Republican Party can recalibrate itself into the party of family and Christian values and find itself electing more leaders like H.W.”
Bush’s record-setting comes after several weeks of allegations of sexual misconduct. In late October, actress Heather Lind alleged that Bush had grabbed her buttocks during a photo shoot promoting the AMC series Turn.
In a now-deleted Instagram post, Lind criticized a photo of Obama posing with Bush, writing, “I found it disturbing because I recognize the respect ex-presidents are given for having served. And I feel pride and reverence toward many of the men in the photo. But when I got the chance to meet George H. W. Bush four years ago to promote a historical television show I was working on, he sexually assaulted me while I was posing for a similar photo.”
Bush’s team quickly released an apology to Lind and attributed the incident to Bush’s limited mobility. Bush suffers from vascular parkinsonism, which mimics Parkinson’s disease, and has used a wheelchair since 2012.
However, numerous other women—eight at the time of this article—have since come forward alleging that Bush had similarly grabbed their buttocks on occasions as early as 2004, 2003, and 1992, several years before he began using a wheelchair.