Both former President George H.W. Bush, 92, and former first lady Barbara Bush, 91, have been hospitalized in Houston, with the president intubated in the intensive care unit.
Bush’s spokesman, Jim McGrath, tweeted this morning that the president was taken to Houston Methodist on Saturday “for shortness of breath, has responded very well to treatments. Hope to have him out soon.”
Several hours later, McGrath issued a statement: “Shortly after our previous report on President Bush’s condition, he was admitted to the ICU at Houston Methodist Hospital to address an acute respiratory problem stemming from pneumonia. Doctors performed a procedure to protect and clear his airway that required sedation. President Bush is stable and resting comfortably in the ICU, where he will remain for observation.”
“Additionally, Mrs. Bush was admitted to the Houston Methodist Hospital this morning as a precaution after experiencing fatigue and coughing.”
Further updates would be issued “as events warrant,” he added.
McGrath confirmed the authenticity of a letter dated Tuesday that Bush sent to President-elect Trump, explaining he and Barbara couldn’t make Friday’s inauguration because “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,” he added. “But we will be with you and the country in spirit. I want you to know that I wish you the very best as you begin this incredible journey of leading our great country. If I can ever be of help, please let me know.”
The pair celebrated their 72nd wedding anniversary earlier this month.
President Obama told reporters he had been in touch with the Bush family today, calling them a constant source of support and counsel. “They’re as fine a couple as we know,” he said. “We want to send our prayers and love to them.”