George H.W. Bush Reportedly Voting For Hillary Clinton

According to one report, the GOP's longest living former President plans to vote for a Democrat this fall.

Bush 41 Hillary

Politico is reporting that former President George H.W. Bush who, along with the rest of his family has been largely silent during the Presidential election, plans to vote for Hillary Clinton instead of his party’s nominee Donald Trump:

Former President George H.W. Bush is bucking his party’s presidential nominee and plans to vote for Hillary Clinton in November, according to a member of another famous political family, the Kennedys.

Bush, 92, had intended to stay silent on the White House race between Clinton and Donald Trump, a sign in and of itself of his distaste for the GOP nominee. But his preference for the wife of his own successor, President Bill Clinton, nonetheless became known to a wider audience thanks to Kathleen Hartington Kennedy Townsend, the former Maryland lieutenant governor and daughter of the late Robert F. Kennedy.

On Monday, Townsend posted a picture on her Facebook page shaking hands next to the former president and this caption: “The President told me he’s voting for Hillary!!”

In a telephone interview, Townsend said she met with the former president in Maine earlier today, where she said he made his preference known that he was voting for a Democrat. “That’s what he said,” she told POLITICO.

Asked about Townsend’s post, George H.W. Bush spokesman Jim McGrath in an email replied, “The vote President Bush will cast as a private citizen in some 50 days will be just that: a private vote cast in some 50 days. He is not commenting on the presidential race in the interim.”

George H.W. Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush have stayed out of the political debate since campaigning earlier this year for their son Jeb’s unsuccessful bid for president. Neither George H.W. Bush nor his son, former President George W. Bush, attended this summer’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland where Trump accepted the nomination.

Consistent with his long-standing tradition of staying largely out of the political debates of the day since leaving office in 1993, Bush is unlikely to say anything further on the matter between now and the election, and you can interpret Kennedy Townsend’s however you wish. The fact that none of the senior Bush’s, including both former Presidents or their wives have given any indication that they support Donald Trump. Jeb Bush, who spent much of last year and the winter and spring being attacked by Trump during his run for the Republican nomination, has similarly remained mostly quiet about the Presidential race since dropping out earlier this year. In fact, what the Bush family really think of Donald Trump can largely be judged by the fact that the family did not attend or participate in the Republican National Convention for the first time in many years. Additionally, reports over the spring made it clear that there was very little goodwill for Trump within the family based on his conduct during the primary. So far, the only exception to this rule has been George P. Bush, the eldest child of Jeb Bush, who was elected Texas Land Commissioner in 2014 and widely seen as representing the next generation of the Bush clan in the political world and who endorsed Trump early in the General Election cycle in roughly the same manner as other elected Republicans have.

There have, of course, been a plethora of Republican officials and former Presidential advisers who have said they will not vote for Trump, and a few who have said they will vote for Clinton, including several former top advisers to the elder President Bush such as former National Security Brent Scowcroft. At the same time, as Philip Bump notes, even the fact that Bush 41 has declined to endorse his party’s nominee is a notable exception to recent history. As Bunp notes, since the Truman Administration no living former President has failed to eventually endorse their party’s nominee for President with the exception of Richard Nixon, who apparently didn’t endorse anyone in the years after he left office in 1974, for what are largely understandable reasons. In fact, as Bump notes, Trump has secured the endorsement of only two of the five living most recent Presidential nominees from his party, and none of of the living former Presidents. The fact that both of those living former Presidents are named Bush makes it unlikely that he’ll be getting one any time prior to Election Day. In the end, that fact is as noticeable, and just as significant, as the question of whether or not Bush 41 ends of voting for Hillary after all, which we’ll likely never know unless he says something publicly.

FILED UNDER: 2016 Election, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Thor thormussen says:

    I think every living ex-president is going to vote for Hillz.

  2. Joe says:

    And every dead president will roll over in his grave if Trump is elected.

  3. Sleeping Dog says:

    Over the weekend I was mulling over the elections end and wondered if the outcome was too close to call, would 41 & 43 endorse Hilary, perhaps they would.

  4. Thor thormussen says:

    Also Bill Weld said he’d drop out if there was any chance he’d help cause trump to get elected.

    Hillary might not have great ratings, but everyone understands that the person the Republican Base nominated is an existential threat to the human race.

  5. gVOR08 says:

    @Thor thormussen:

    everyone understands

    Apparently not. It’s sobering to contemplate the reasons, but much of it comes down to what I read a Political Scientist say some years ago, what he described as the dirty little secret all Poly Sci people know, but no one wants to talk about. The electorate are a box of rocks.

  6. MarkedMan says:

    All politics aside, it is not cool to be dragging a 90 year old man into a political quagmire.

  7. michael reynolds says:


    Never has that been so painfully brought home to me. I really thought I was sufficiently cynical about the American voter. Apparently not.

  8. Hal_10000 says:

    Not surprised. Bush 41 was a true conservative, who bucked the radicals in his own party to pass a budget deal and made sure our war in Kuwait did not become a quagmire. He sees right through Trump.

  9. CSK says:


    And one of the great ironies is that Trump has spent most of his adult life trying desperately to be accepted by people like the Bushes, but was too stupid to realize that you don’t do that by building insanely tacky casinos, bragging about your adulteries, installing gold-plated bathroom fixtures, refereeing a catfight between your wife and your mistress on a ski slope, treating the help badly, jockeying for premier space in the gossip columns, and, worst of all, naming your youngest daughter after a jewelry store.

  10. HarvardLaw92 says:


    The electorate are a box of rocks.

    Mencken spoke eloquently about that way back in 1920. The electorate has ALWAYS been a box of rocks …

    When a candidate for public office faces the voters he does not face men of sense; he faces a mob of men whose chief distinguishing mark is the fact that they are quite incapable of weighing ideas, or even of comprehending any save the most elemental — men whose whole thinking is done in terms of emotion, and whose dominant emotion is dread of what they cannot understand.

    So confronted, the candidate must either bark with the pack or be lost… All the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre — the man who can most adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum.

    The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.

  11. Neil Hudelson says:


    Nah. Jackson will be cool with it.

  12. Tyrell says:

    Maybe she could get Dan Quayle to join her on the campaign trail.

  13. James Joyner says:

    @Tyrell: Actually, Quayle is supporting Trump.

  14. PJ says:

    @James Joyner:

    Actually, Quayle is supporting Trump.


    The electorate are a box of rocks.

    And a potatoe.

  15. Franklin says:

    Out of curiosity, which two of the former Republican nominees are supporting Trump? Looks like one of them is McCain, although that’s *very* marginal.

  16. C. Clavin says:

    H.W. is one of the last real Conservatives. So of course he supports Clinton.
    Trump and today’s Republican party are not Conservative. They are radicals and extremists fighting to burn down the country in order to preserve their white privilege. Demagogues and authoritarians who will not be happy until the country is homogeneous; where everyone looks, speaks, and thinks the same…all in the service of insuring the wealth of white men like Trump.

  17. bookdragon says:

    @James Joyner: That pretty much says it all, doesn’t it?

  18. Moosebreath says:

    Not just former Republican former Presidents opposing Trump. A survey from the Wall Street Journal shows economic advisers under Republicans are all either opposed to Trump or keeping quiet:

    “Among 17 Republican appointees who responded to Journal inquiries, none said they supported Mr. Trump. Six said they did not support Mr. Trump and 11 declined to say either way. An additional six did not respond to repeated messages. Among the 21 Democrats who responded to the Journal, 14 said they supported Mrs. Clinton, none said they opposed her and seven declined to say either way. One Democratic appointee didn’t respond to messages.”

  19. C. Clavin says:

    Well more than 300 scientists warn against Trump…

  20. Jeremy says:

    @Thor thormussen: “Also Bill Weld said he’d drop out if there was any chance he’d help cause trump to get elected.”

    Wrong. Carl Bernstein said that. There is zero evidence that any of this speculation is even remotely true.

  21. Franklin says:

    @Franklin: To answer myself, I guess Bob Dole is the other answer. Interesting, as I thought he was a bit smarter than that.

  22. gVOR08 says:

    @James Joyner: I was curious as to how anyone would possibly know that, so I googled “Quayle Trump”. POLITICO – of course. The world’s champion stenographers. And even Quayle hedged, some BS about the people want an outsider, and Hillary isn’t qualified to be an outsider. That was a May story, but Quayle surfaced again, in POLITICO, praising the Pence pick.

    I see Wiki describes Pence as the most conservative Veep pick in forty years, so if the GOPs elect, then impeach, Trump, we’re still in deep doodoo.

  23. Pete S says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Over the weekend I was mulling over the elections end and wondered if the outcome was too close to call, would 41 & 43 endorse Hilary, perhaps they would.

    But would those endorsements really help? I don’t see how the Bush family sway any Trump supporters into changing their votes. I also cannot imagine any Democrats wavering in their support for Clinton saying to themselves “the Bushes are on board, that’s what I was waiting to see. Now I am ready to vote for her.” Actually, with all the talk of protest votes, I could see GWB endorsing Clinton as a subtle way to swing the election to Trump.

  24. Moosebreath says:

    @Pete S:

    I think where it helps is with Republicans who are anti-Trump. It is saying to them, instead of staying home or voting for Johnson as a protest, it’s OK to vote for Hillary.

  25. Thor thormussen says:

    I was curious as to how anyone would possibly know that, so I googled “Quayle Trump”. POLITICO – of course. The world’s champion stenographers. And even Quayle hedged, some BS about the people want an outsider, and Hillary isn’t qualified to be an outsider.

    So deep down, even Dan Quayle probly really thinks Trump shouldn’t be prez.

    That actually doesn’t surprise me. I live in a county in the Deep South than went:

    48% Trump
    29% Cruz
    17% Rubio
    1% Jeb
    0.8% Carson

    Believe me when I tell you, not as a joke, that Dan Quayle is a tenured college professor compared to these shitheads.

  26. C. Clavin says:
  27. gVOR08 says:

    @C. Clavin: From your link: “Ruedinger said he’s “had enough” and is “standing up” to all the violence that extremists have inspired around the world.” He said it was in response to the St Cloud stabbings, a hundred miles away on the other side of Minneapolis. One hesitates to contemplate the thought process involved in thinking a sign at your two bit ice cream store in rural MN is an effective action against anything.

    What it is is an affirmation of tribal affiliation. Which, to amplify my comment @gVOR08: is why people are voting for Trump. That, and what I have called “the Russel Kirk effect”, blaming all change you don’t like on political liberals. The news is full of LBGT and scary people with dark complexions and they find this very threatening, even though I suspect the direct effects in their tiny rural town are minimal. Also we’ve had two Dem administrations and a recession, many people want CHANGE, mindless of how we got here and what a change to Trump would mean.

  28. grumpy realist says:

    @gVOR08: As said, it’s the Samson reaction. “I don’t care how much damage I do, just as long as I pull the roof down on those I call enemies.”

  29. Tyrell says:

    @James Joyner: I had not heard that. I am somewhat surprised.

  30. bill says:

    so you’re gonna follow GHWB now- wow…….i’m buying a lottery ticket.