A third woman has come forward with a George HW Bush-groping story

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Welp, it’s looking less and less like George HW Bush had a momentary lapse because of age or infirmity. I know that some people want to believe that the two previous accounts of HW Bush groping women from his wheelchair are just one-off or two-off stories about a sick and elderly man. You can believe that if you want, and you can believe that all sick, elderly men should be able to do whatever they want. I can have sympathy for HW Bush’s age and infirmities and still believe he’s really disgusting for repeatedly groping younger women. I also believe that the people around Bush know full well that he’s repeatedly assaulting women. You can tell by the increasingly weird apologies the Bush spokesperson has offered. Earlier this week, we heard actress Heather Lind’s story. Yesterday, we heard a second woman’s story, both stories showing a clear pattern of disgusting behavior. And now here’s a third story, from writer Christina Baker Kline (you can read her full story here at Slate):

In April of 2014, I was invited to Houston as a guest author for the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy fundraiser, along with two well-known male authors and a male journalist who’d written a book about a Navy SEAL. At a small luncheon at a private home before the big event, I was seated next to Barbara Bush, who was warmly intimate and surprisingly funny. In my nervousness, I knocked a cherry tomato onto her pristine white slacks. She smiled wryly and said, “Seriously, Christina?”

After the luncheon, it was time to take group photos. Barbara Bush and I stood and chatted for a few minutes while the photographer readied his camera. President George H.W. Bush, whom I had not yet met, sat in his wheelchair in the center of the room, while others were arranged around him for photos in various groupings. When it came time for my husband and me to be photographed with him, President Bush beckoned me close.

“Hello,” I said. “It’s truly an honor to meet you.” He cocked his head at me for a moment, then said, “You’re beautiful.”

“Thank you,” I said.

“You’re a writer.”


“You wanna know my favorite book?” he whispered. I had to lean close to hear him.

“Yes, what is it?”

By now the photographer was readying the shot. My husband stood on one side of the wheelchair, and I stood on the other. President Bush put his arm around me, low on my back. His comic timing was impeccable. “David Cop-a-feel,” he said, and squeezed my butt, hard, just as the photographer snapped the photo. Instinctively, I swiped his hand away.

After the photo op, my husband and I were whisked out the door. At the curb, a woman who introduced herself as a friend of the Bush family was waiting to drive us back to the hotel. Once we were on our way, I told David what had happened. I was still so surprised that it didn’t occur to me to keep it secret. His mouth fell open. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

Our driver, who was stopped at a light, sat there for a moment, then leaned back and looked at us. “I do trust you will be … discreet,” she said. Her comment wasn’t menacing. But in that moment I thought: She has heard this before. The people around President Bush are accustomed to doing damage control. There must be many of us, I remember thinking. And now I know there are.

[From Slate]

Ugh. How many women has HW Bush groped in this way? How many times has he done it in front of his wife, in front of Secret Service agents, in front of witnesses, and all of them work to “normalize” it and get the victim to STFU? It’s so gross. And you know how I know that this isn’t something to do with a health issue? Because he’s not groping men. He’s consciously targeting victims.

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Photos courtesy of Getty.

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62 Responses to “A third woman has come forward with a George HW Bush-groping story”

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  1. Rapunzel says:

    Read my lips: HW Bush is a perve.

    • lightpurple says:

      And always has been.

      • Who ARE these people? says:

        That family has never shown much class.

      • lightpurple says:

        But bragged about “family values,” despite being a sordid soap opera.

      • Josie says:

        I take back the suggestion this was dementia (on the thread the other day). This has obviously been going on for some time.

        I’m surprised as I don’t remember any rumours of this behaviour before – that of course just means the media hasn’t reported on it.

      • Jamie42 says:

        I take it back as well. Clearly this is a pattern, and the “David Cop-a-feel” thing is too pathetic for words. This woman also describes a hard, unmistakable grab.

    • mamacita says:

      what makes me so incensed is this whole ‘I trust you’ll be discreet’. so typical. when I confronted a male friend of mine about inappropriate touching behavior, he could have apologized and we may have resolved it and stayed friends. but he was so concerned with anyone else knowing that instead he started calling me names and saying I was morally decrepit and pathetic. AND he told me several times that how dare I mention it to anyone else. then a month later when I saw him in public place, in person and he was rude, I said please do not call me names or be rude. I said it in a low voice but I said it because I had to stand up for myself and my rights. he then started yelling at me. YELLING. saying that I was bad news. at the top of his lungs. this was after a month wherein I had been discreet and not said a word to any of our mutual friends but instead only mentioned it to a girlfriend of mine. it makes me angry that these men exhibit the bad behavior and yet if we say anything and confront them or share with others, we’re the bad guy. this message is pervasive in society. it makes me sick to think about it.

    • Milla says:

      Pretty sure it’s easier just to name president who aren’t pervs… I got Obama.

  2. mamacita says:

    ugh this is so disheartening. and I don’t believe this has been primarily caused by senility.

    • Tanguerita says:

      it most certainly not – otherwise he would grope everyone – men, women, dogs and Bill Clinton. But he doesn’t. And he keeps repeating this disgusting line about “Cop-a-feel”. Ughh. I wanted to wash my eyes with bleach after seeing this picture from Slate. You can literally see his hand gropping this poor woman’s behind.

  3. aang says:

    Sad. He needs to be kept away from the public if he can’t control himself. But he probably gropes his nurses too. Unless more stories come out that are pre-illness, I still think dementia in this case. It can linger for years before it becomes really bad and cause people to loose all kinds of social inhibitions before they loose all memory completely. I had a great aunt that liked to bite her sister when she could. No one else, just her sister. So she knew who she was biting but it wasn’t really her fault.

    • Who ARE these people? says:

      The “David Cop a feel” detail and his well executed timing argue against disinhibition.

      • Catherinethegoodenough says:

        I disagree. As I gather you know from your well-informed comments below, the moderate stages of dementia can be typified by organized disinhibition, meaning he knows the “joke” from way back, probably used it in social situations with “friends” when he was younger, but knew better than to do it at a formal event to a stranger during the presidential years. Unless we hear differently, I presume that the fact that he’s been doing it to strangers in recent years indicates disinhibition from dementia. Essentially, he remembers this “funny” groping joke he used to tell and has entirety forgotten that it is not OK, particularly in public situations with strangers.

        It’s not OK to do it anywhere ever, of course, it is not funny and it is most certainly assault. But, if the dementia scenario is correct, in his mind he’s back in the days when it was accepted in his social circle, and he may be forgetting where he is or whom he is meeting. I’m not arguing that it was ever OK or that he’s not a creep, but I am arguing that a heterosexual man with dementia will not start groping humans indiscriminately as some have implied above.

      • Who ARE These People? says:

        Going with what Lightpurple keeps reminding us. Teri Hatcher. Not friend.

      • bv says:

        I agree with Catherine:

        Former President Bush’s repeated “Cop-A-Feel” remark is called a verbal stereotypy at this point. Others with dementia will tell over and over again the same jokes or stories. They have become disinhibited. And yes, people ill with this disease may even touch people, rush toward babies and lift them from their strollers, and may even steal pretty, shiny objects.

        Motor stereotypies may include clapping, snapping fingers, rubbing the knee, picking at the skin or pulling hair, whistling, humming, hoarding or turning on and off light switches.

        I will spare you other symptoms.

        President Bush is in a wheelchair. Why is it so hard to for people to understand that the brain can wither away, too?

        What is even more difficult for people to wrap their heads around is a 40- or 50-year-old person who has dementia, most often dementia of the frontal lobe (bvFTD).

        Do not equate President Bush’s behaviors due to his illness with Weinstein’s predatory, criminal acts. I really hope you won’t ever go through what we have.

    • lightpurple says:

      There is video of him spanking Teri Hatcher 10 years ago. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJZoai2HIeA He referred to Geraldine Ferraro as a piece of ass in 1984 and then tried to claim it was a football term.

    • Josie says:

      He’s been diagnosed with vascular Parkinsonism which as I understand isn’t senility (the name refers to the symptoms mimicking Parkinson’s).

      • Who ARE These People? says:

        Thanks for this. There’s a difference between Parkinsonism, which includes some of the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, and the disease itself, which in a sizable minority of cases can include dementia (progressive cognitive impairment).

        He knows what he’s doing, he just likes to attack women both physically and with a horrible and super-tacky sex joke.

        Senility isn’t used in the medical world anymore. When we talk old people “going senile,” we’re now referring to some form of dementia (progressive cognitive impairment). Most common age-related form is Alzheimer’s, followed by vascular and dementia with Lewy bodies, plus dementia in Parkinson’s, and so on. Much overlap in how they manifest but some underlying differences that are best discerned if possible, in terms of some aspects of management and treatment.

      • Christin says:

        WATP, I am glad you made the distinction between Parkinsonism and full Parkinson’s Disease. About 1/3 of full PD patients end up with dementia. This guy has never been described as having PD or Lewy Body Dementia. He has some physical issues, but not the full gamut of those more debilitating (and progressive) chronic diseases.

  4. Who ARE these people? says:

    Time to stop rolling him out, Bush family. So many of you are so embarrassing!

    Time for the other ex- presidents to say something, too. Come on, who wants to go first?

  5. Lyka says:

    Literally the most offensive part is this TRASH pun he keeps using.

    (Jk. Obviously his repeated and grotesque violations are the worst part, but these stories are so alarmingly similar and frustratingly familiar I’m out of places to put my outrage).

  6. cindy says:

    Is anyone else nearly traumatized by these old man Bush pictures? Blech.

    • jwoolman says:

      You will become what you laugh at…

      The only way to avoid looking old is to die young.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      Only because of knowing about his poor behavior. Otherwise, he’s an old man, leave that alone. It happens to everyone, if we live long enough.

      • cindy says:

        Fair enough. No offense to the elderly intended. God knows I am well on my way…..

      • still_sarah says:

        My mother had dementia and was in a secure retirement home before she died. Her symptoms at the end of her life were obvious – not knowing where she was or at what stage of her life. But now that I look back, I can see that her behaviour changed long before that. It started changing years before my sisters put her into an assisted living facility.

        Was Bush Sr. always an entitled jerk to some extent? I think so – look at his age and the affluent life he grew up in. But I think this could also be related to dementia too. But none of that makes it an excuse for the people covering it up OR makes it any less real for the people being violated.

  7. Amy Tennant says:

    Is it all right to say I’m disappointed? I believe women. I believed it from the first accuser, although I thought dementia was the culprit then and now I sadly doubt it. But I wanted to think better of him. Like Bill Cosby.

    I’m still glad abusers and assaulters and harassers are being unmasked. But they are going to end up being people we liked, and we have to be strong. We know it’s not going to be the same five dudes who hurt every single woman on our facebook feed.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      Many men use their exalted positions as cover. This is part of the problem in teaching children “stranger danger” – abuse is so much more likely to come from people they trust, such as family members, teachers, counselors, coaches.

      And yes, I guess we’re all wondering now – who next?

      • jwoolman says:

        I remember once while walking around the block looking for a wayward cat there was a little girl (probably 3 or 4 years old) playing in her back yard. She proceeded to tell me that she wasn’t supposed to talk with strangers! She actually talked to me a lot about that as I passed by… I tried not to say much since it was obviously pretty important to her parents. But she was quite the little chatterbox.

      • Who ARE These People? says:

        Aw. Little kids really are too little to keep differentiating and understand the whole thing about strangers. These mysterious “strangers” that are supposed to be so obvious and dangerous right out in the open, when instead things happen in basements during the family party, or when someone creeps down the hall when the kids are asleep, or they’re taken into the coach’s office or the vestry.

  8. jwoolman says:


  9. Evie says:

    To date, these three disclosures have all been from the past several years. As a nonagenarian, the Bush family can point to his advancing age, ill health and diminished capacity. That does not excuse this behavior. The “David Cop-a-feel” is his mantra just before he swoops in for the grope. He obviously thinks it’s funny, in his addled brain.

    Again, the Bush family needs to take charge and stop wheeling him out to events. When Reagan got bad, he retired from public appearances. It’s now past time for Bush to do the same. Let the family find some form of harmless, inoffensive “entertainment” for him.

    When Reagan developed Alzheimer’s, the Secret Service took him for drives in the car. When they reached their destination, they’d find that he had taken apart the ashtrays, the cigarette lighters, the lights, etc and was sitting there playing with them like a nursery school child.

  10. Giddy says:

    I think this will hurt Bush Sr’s reputation and his legacy. He’s a man who has served the country since being a pilot in WWII. But this pervy stuff will now be a footnote. Of course, for the women he grabbed, they have an unwanted memory of being accosted. And if many more women come forth, his game of grab-ass will be a major part of his story.

  11. Christin says:

    I’m glad these allegations are surfacing while ole Bush is still here to either defend or acknowledge.

    Regarding former leaders — Some people have criticized Carter for years, when it is increasingly evident he is arguably the most decent former US President (he’s had decades to show his true colors). The man walks the talk, with his charitable endeavors and no hints of scandal. He’s usually left to the side in these group photos, as if he doesn’t fit the clique (which is probably a good thing).

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      And remember the big hoo-ha made when he said that he had lust in his heart for other women?

      • Christin says:

        Yes, I do. He always took enormous grief, when the man to this day has never had an accusation made against him (not even an ex-girlfriend story from his youth).

      • Who ARE These People? says:

        I know, right! He was just being honest, probably his wife (or any other faithful spouse) could say the same thing), and yet he got so much grief. He was even outlet-appropriate – it was Playboy! I wonder who the last president was to give an interview in Playboy.

  12. Gisele DeCorvin-McGraw says:

    This is dementia. My 75 year old mother frequently makes highly inappropriate, embarassing remarks and is hyper-sexual due to early onset dementia. Decades of metabolic and vascular disease have been the catalyst for her dementia. The Bush family needs to be forthright about his condition. I strongly doubt he was engaged in this type of behavior before experiencing dementia in his declining years. This type of behaviour is common in both men and women when they are experiencing dementia. Years ago, we had an elderly neighbor, a widower and by all accounts decent sort of man but in his eighties he took every opportunity to make lascivious remarks or to try to grope my younger sister when she helped with chores around his house.

    • JEM says:

      If this was indeed caused by dementia, why didn’t the spokesperson say that instead of admitting this behavior was inappropriate (his words – my words are sexual assault)? The answer is because HW has done this many many times because he is a disgusting pig. You’d think the family would rather say this is dementia than acknowledge that this behavior is not ok.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      Please read comments on all stories about him from the start. He did this when younger, pre-illness. I’m sorry that so many of us have relatives in some stage of dementia showing reduced impulsivity and hypersexual behavior, but his pattern is not suggestive of that and the family has to stop rolling him out in public events if so. Also, these particular “David Cop a feel” (purposeful with verbal coordination) events were several years ago. He doesn’t look so good now, and we’re associating his appearance now with things that happened years back.

    • Rose says:

      @Gisele DeCorvin-McGraw

      This is not This is dementia he has a HISTORY of assaulting women, people like you need to stop making excuses for his behavior.

  13. Katherine says:

    I’m glad they are talking. Since the first story it was clear this was unacceptable and not at all ‘funny’ or ‘harmless’ as some wanted to pretend it is.

  14. H says:

    Yesterday, I cut the old guy some slack because my own father has dementia. Not for senior Bush anymore. That “cute” little pun about David Cop-A-Feel? He doesn’t have dementia – he has Grabby Hands Syndrome.

    After sundown, my father barely remembers how to drive around his own neighborhood that he’s lived in for 40 years. And he calls me by his dead sister’s name, even though my aunt and I look nothing alike. (I only wish I had been a six foot tall statuesque brunette.) So yeah Bush senior it’s just a dirty old perv.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      Exactly. There is a difference between uncoordinated, impulsive behavior and his sneak attacks with a side of really awful “joke.”

    • Christin says:

      I am sorry about your father. My guess regarding elder GB is that he has always had these tendencies. The Parkinsonism seems to be only physical limitations in his case. They have never mentioned Lewy Body, full blown PD or dementia.

      • Tourmaline says:

        Good point Christin. No one has ever claimed that GHWB has any kind of cognitive disorder or dementia.

      • jwoolman says:

        Also his use of language has apparently not deteriorated. Except for that awful David Copperfield “joke”, but that deterioration happened a long time ago in the depths of his soul.

        The fact that Bush père’s linguistic ability is the same as when he was younger has been mentioned by observers recently in contrast to Trump, whose language skills have deteriorated considerably since he was younger. The difference is really obvious when you watch Trump on old video interviews. Trump also displays very disjointed language in interviews, wandering all over the place and rarely finishing a thought, leaving out important words in phrases, etc. He didn’t do that a few years ago. Bush doesn’t do that at all.

      • Julianna says:

        Thank you. Nothing suggests he has dementia. He’s obviously physically ill, but when he speaks, and the last few years he’s been speaking a lot, there’s zero signs of dementia or anything at all wrong with his cognitive abilities.

        Do people really think the Bush family would let him go to all these events if he had dementia? Jeb Bush recently let him talk on behalf of his campaign, a lot. If he was at the point of ‘out of character’ groping, he’d also be at the point where he might, say, start stripping of all his clothes, or start ranting about something completely irrelevant. No one risks that kind of thing with elder statesmen. That Bush is still out there all the time, given a platform and a mic, really strongly suggests there’s nothing at all wrong with his mind.

    • Catherinethegoodenough says:

      Dementia takes many forms and presents in many stages of progression. Comparing GHWB to Trump or to somebody you’ve had personal experience with only highlights that fact. You cannot say that GHWB is not in the early stages of dementia (which can last for years, with excellent language preservation in highly-functioning people) simply because his language is better than Trump’s or because his dementia is not advanced.

      • Who ARE These People? says:

        Maybe, but we can point out that he groped women well before his latter years.

        No one is denying the fact that dementia brings difficult and sometimes sexually impulsive behaviors.

        We’re just saying it is highly, highly unlikely in the case of GHW Bush given his history, his pattern, what is known of his medical condition, the apparent relatively intact state of his cognition, the lack of family statement on such disease and instead their repetition of lame cover-ups, and the overall level of crude and inappropriate behaviour by men tolerated by several generations of that family.

      • Catherinethegoodenough says:

        Look, I’m not saying he’s NOT an entitled creep. I’ve never met him, I don’t know! But he’s 93 yrs old. So the Teri Hatcher incident happened when he was 83 or so? Age is not an automatic excuse, but it’s not unreasonable to think he became disinhibited before then due to early dementia. Do we have any evidence of his assaulting women during his presidency or before? That would change my mind.

        I also don’t believe the family is obligated to make a public statement on such a personal issue, even in the case of an ex-president. He’s no longer the president so he’s got the same right to medical privacy as you and I do. Should they stop wheeling him out? Yeah. They definitely should.

        I’m not going to die on the hill of defending the Bush family. But, forgive me, this is my life’s work and as such I take serious issue with the comments, including the OP’s closer, insisting that he CAN’T POSSIBLY be demented because of A, B, or C reason, all of which are untrue.

        And, frankly, if GHWB is indeed an elderly man with dementia, I worry about this kind of speculation reinforcing a national “See, all men do it! Locker room talk!” narrative that may serve to neutralize Harvey Weinstein’s (and others’) absolutely criminal actions.

  15. lucy2 says:

    This is a guy who felt entitled, and has gotten away with whatever he wanted for all these years. Under the guise of a “joke”, he’s been inappropriately touching women for decades. It’s gross, but I’m SOOOO glad things are changing and people are speaking up to say it’s not OK.

  16. Holly Wouldn't says:

    Don’t forget that this man was once director of the CIA. And if the “conspiracy theories” about him being a Skull-and-Bones man are true, that would certainly add to his sense of entitlement to get away with bad behavior, no?

  17. bv says:

    I don’t think some people on this site understand that dementia is an illness that can last for up to 20 years, and depending on which part of the brain it strikes first, symptoms can wildly vary.

    Alzheimers hits the back part of the brain affecting memory, but other dementias attack the frontal lobe destroying the person who used to be.

  18. Otaku Fairy says:

    Not really buying ‘health problems’ as a COMPLETE excuse for his behavior after learning about some of his other history with women. The defensive, angry reactions people had to the women coming forward- dismissing them as attention-seekers, making the conversation about ‘women needing to toughen up and stop being so sensitive’, the whining about women needing to ‘show compassion 4 the elderly’ by keeping this a secret- were equally gross.

  19. AnotherDirtyMartini says:

    How disappointing. I really didn’t have him pegged as a perv. It’s so weird we didn’t hear anything during his presidency…but maybe I was too young/self-absorbed & didn’t keep up with the news. It makes me wonder if more people are going to come forward with OLDER stories. I am not a doctor, but I know enough to say that some medications can cause hypersexuality in people. Probably some brain disorders as well. I’m trying to think of all possible reasons. But here’s a question I have – why the HELL do they keep putting him next to people for photo ops!?? He’s is a f-cking wheelchair – if I were Barbara, I’d wheel his pervy ass to the front middle and have everyone stand behind him. There are solutions!

  20. Barfly says:

    Am i the only one who kind of laughed/snorted at hearing this? Smh at this dirty old man who’s no longer relevant…but i did laugh. A little.