Three vice presidents came together at Texas A&M for “An Inside Look at the American Vice Presidency” and honored the lives of Barbara and George H.W. Bush by visiting their final resting place.
Friday evening, standing Vice President Mike Pence, along with former Vice Presidents Dan Quayle and Dick Cheney participated in the ConocoPhillips White House Lecture Series. Moments before the start of the event, all three vice presidents and Second Lady Karen Pence took a moment to pay tribute to George and Barbara Bush by bringing lilacs from a plant that the Bushes had planted at the Vice Presidents’ residence.
Whoops rang through the crowd when Pence introduced himself to the Aggies in the audience. Pence thanked filmmaker Jeffrey Roth, who is currently working on a new film titled “President in Waiting.” The film explores the office of the vice president through personal interviews with vice presidents and the president who they served under. The event featured a preview of Roth’s film.
“Having seen just a small sampling of his artistry and previous work, I know this is going to be a very special, special documentary about the institution of the vice presidency and all 48 of us who have been privileged to serve in it,” Pence said.
Pence said he is often asked which vice president among his 47 predecessors he most identifies with. He said that while both Dan Quayle and Dick Cheney — who Pence has known and worked with personally — have been extraordinary men, George H.W. Bush is ultimately the man with whom he most identifies.
“The more I thought about the question the more I thought that before any of the three of us ever served in this role, this library’s namesake had already set the goal standard of modern vice presidents,” Pence said. “And to be honest with you, I can probably most identify with Vice President George Herbert Walker Bush because he served as a sound counselor and a loyal adviser to an outsider, who came to Washington, D.C., to shake things up.”
Former vice president Dan Quayle, who served under the 41st president, said Bush expected two things from his vice president: preparedness and loyalty.
“The relationship he had with Ronald Reagan was very similar to the relationship I had with him,” Quayle said.
Both Quayle and Cheney recalled memorable aspects of their time in office. They said that the office of the vice president has become increasingly important, and the shift began with Vice President Walter Mondale.
“Walter Mondale deserves a lot of credit for the modernization of the vice presidency because he’s the one that moved the office of the vice president from the old executive office building to the west wing,” Quayle said.
Pence said that during his first conversation with Donald Trump, then-candidate Trump told Pence that he was looking for a vice president who would be active.
“Let me tell you, President Trump kept that promise,” Pence said. “Whether it be advancing his agenda on Capitol Hill or across the country or procuring our America-first agenda across this hemisphere or the wider world.”
Bush school graduate student Alexis Weaver attended the event as a Bush School ambassador and was able to greet attendees as they entered the venue. She said this event is a testament to the lasting impact of the Bush School’s namesake.
“Something that I’ve found really cool since I've started going to the Bush school is ... even after he’s passed, [Bush’s] impact really still brings people in,” Weaver said. “I think really is a testament to his name, and it makes us all feel more proud to go to his school, his namesake.”