George H.W. Bush, the 41st president of the United States, died in Houston on Friday night at the age of 94. His body will lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda from tonight until Wednesday. He will be buried later this week in Houston. Bush was elected president in 1988, becoming the first and only former CIA director to lead the country. From 1981 to 1989, he served as Ronald Reagan’s vice president. At his inauguration in 1989, Bush vowed to build a kinder, gentler nation, but as president he oversaw two wars.
In 1989, Bush invaded Panama in order to arrest former CIA asset Manuel Noriega. An estimated 3,000 people died in the attack. A year later, Bush launched the Gulf War after Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. The U.S. attack devastated the Iraqi civilian infrastructure and killed an unknown number of Iraqi civilians. Twelve years later, his son, President George W. Bush, would attack Iraq again.
On the domestic front, Bush Sr. is remembered by many in the LGBT community for his lack of action in the 1990s as the HIV/AIDS crisis raged on. Bush refused to address and fund programs around HIV/AIDS education and prevention, as well as drug treatment. Bush also perpetuated Reagan’s so-called war on drugs, which disproportionately criminalized black Americans, saying, “We need more prisons, more jails, more courts, more prosecutors.” More recently, Bush was accused of groping multiple women during photo opportunities. We will have more on the life of George H.W. Bush after headlines.