My experience with President Bush included work with his Presidential Library, where I was involved heavily with setting up record storage on a temporary basis and working on the construction of the Library to ensure compliance with federal law. Here are some reflections on that time, while I was serving as Archivist of the United States.
Early in the process, the project’s lead archivist developed a relationship with the former President to the point that when the Library opened, Bush 41 wanted him as Library Director. I tried telling the President and his advisors that my man was a very good archivist but not a leader with the skills they would want and need. 41 held out and I appointed that archivist only to be contacted a short time later asking that he be removed. In their experience, he was not capable of working with the power players at Texas A&M, the Library’s home, as well as the many rich and successful supporters of the Foundation.
A special plus for me was the opportunity to get acquainted with Brent Scowcroft. A key member of the Bush 41 administration, he was the lead advisor to the President in his retirement and the person assigned to work with me. I came to know him as not just a person of many talents but the highest of character as well. Since then, he has continued to be active in public service, setting a high standard that too few achieve.
George Herbert Walker Bush will be remembered not only for his lifetime of quality public service but the way he carried out his responsibilities. Given the passage of time, I think history will be very kind to a man and a President who took seriously his role to serve.