Barbara Bush saw Donald Trump as a 'symbol of greed'

WASHINGTON (AP) — Barbara Bush didn't bite her tongue in recent years when it came to Donald Trump: She just didn't like him. But a new biography of the former first lady finds that her disdain for the Republican president, who transformed the party her own family had embodied for generations into his likeness, dates as least as far back as a 1990s diary entry.

She referred to Trump in the entry as "the real symbol of greed in the 80s."

Mrs. Bush, who was 92 when she died last April, gave Susan Page, author of "The Matriarch: Barbara Bush and the Making of an American Dynasty," access to volumes of her diaries, which she began keeping in 1948.

The former first lady recounts in a January 1990 entry about reading a news article on Trump speaking at a Los Angeles charity awards dinner for Merv Griffin. Former President Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy, attended the gala, and Trump needled the former president over pricey speeches he had given in Japan.

Mrs. Bush later showed a friend news clips about Trump's separation from his first wife, Ivana, and noted that allies of the soon-to-be ex-Mrs. Trump were saying a $25 million settlement in the prenuptial agreement she signed wouldn't be enough.

"The Trumps are a new word, both of them," Mrs. Bush wrote. "Trump now means Greed, selfishness and ugly. So sad."

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Barbara Bush as First Lady
WASHINGTON, DC -- NOVEMBER 9: (L-R) First Lady Nancy Reagan, President-Elect George H.W. Bush, President Ronald Reagan, Mrs. Barbara Bush, Vice President-Elect Dan Quayle, and Mrs. Marilyn Quayle at a welcoming ceremony at the Rose Garden on November 9, 1988 in Washington, DC. President-Elect Bush had just won the presidential election the day before. (Photo by David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES: President George H.W. Bush, First Lady Barbara Bush and Barbara Walters 1989 (Photo by Kimberly Butler/ABC via Getty Images)
First Lady Barbara Bush chatting with CBS anchorman Dan Rather framed by verdant shrubbery & winter-bare trees, on White House grounds, January 11, 1989. (Photo by Cynthia Johnson/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
(Original Caption) 1/19/1989- Washington, DC- At a Kennedy Center 'Salute to the First Lady', Barbara Bush is given a sombrero by granddaughter Noelle Bush and then tries it on after Noelle played the accordion in a mariachi band.
First Lady Barbara Bush and US President George HW Bush hold hands and wave as they lead the Inaugural Parade along Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC, January 20, 1989. (Photo by Ron Sachs/CNP/Getty Images)
First Lady Barbara Bush (C), sporting her signature pearls, greeting elderly patients at The Wash. Home, w. their Valentine's Day card to her in bkgrd. (Photo by Cynthia Johnson/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
(Original Caption) Peking: Young Chinese girls takes a look with her toy camera as U.S. First Lady Barbara Bush tours the Forbidden City on Sunday. She was visiting the tourist attraction with her family.
First Lady Barbara Bush, sporting her signature pearls, cuddling w. trio of little girls at fete re Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. (Photo by Cynthia Johnson/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
(Original Caption) Peking: U. S. First Lady Barbara Bush smiles with Chinese escort in traditional dress, during tea at Gong-Wang-Fu Tea House on Sunday.
Barbara Bush, wife of President George Bush, and her granddaughter, Marshall Lloyd Bush, with first dog Millie and her six newborn puppies. (Photo by David Valdez/White House/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Pres. George Bush and First Lady Barbara (in sunglasses) riding in their Cigarette boat Fidelty w. an unident. man. (Photo by Susan Biddle/White House/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
(Original Caption) Washington, DC: First Lady Barbara Bush is pictured with granddaughters Marshall (L) and Lauren (C) as they join the Easter Bunny on a White House balcony, 3/27.
First Lady Barbara Bush (R)(in red suit) bringing in pair of Millie's puppies from playtime on WH lawn, w. aide holding puppy carrier. (Photo by Diana Walker//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)
American dancer, choreographer, and activist Katherine Dunham (1909 - 2006) (left) is awarded the National Medal of Arts by US First Lady Barbara Bush and President George HW Bush during a ceremony in the White House's East Room, Washington DC, November 19, 1989. (Photo by Ron Sachs/CNP/Getty Images)
Vice President Dan Quayle and First Lady Barbara Bush. (Photo by Maureen Keating/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images)
ABC NEWS - President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush in 1990. (Photo by Pete Souza/ABC via Getty Images)
First Lady Barbara Bush and U.S. President George Bush arrive in Helsinki in September 1990. President Bush will meet with Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev during the Helsinki Summit, where the two leaders will discuss the Persian Gulf crisis. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Sygma via Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 17, 1990: First Lady Barbara Bush throws out the first pitch of Game 2 of the 1990 World Series between the Cincinnati Reds and the Oakland Athletics on October 17,1990 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty Images)
First Lady Barbara Bush (R) chatting up appreciative press audience on board Air Force One, destination Houston, TX. (Photo by Dirck Halstead/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
This file photo shows former First Lady Barbara Bush(L) talking to her dog Millie(C) as she and grandaughter Barbara Bush(R), age nine, wait for US President George Bush to return to the White House 13 September 1991, in Washington,DC. The President was undergoing a medical checkup at Bethesda Naval Medical Center. Grandaughter Barbara is the daughter of President George W. Bush. AFP PHOTO/Jennifer LAW (Photo credit should read JENNIFER LAW/AFP/Getty Images)
Washington, DC.6-23-1991 President George H.W. Bush returns to the White House via Marine One from Camp David and lands on the South Lawn. Accompanied by his son Marvin Bush and daughter Dora Bush and the First Lady Barbara Bush and the family dogs. Credit: Mark Reinstein (Photo by Mark Reinstein/Corbis via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 7: This file photo shows former US First Lady Barbara Bush (L) as she prepares to throw a rugby ball 07 February 1992,in Washington,DC, after receiving it from Mary Sullivan (R), captain of the US national women's rugby team. The US team, which won the World Cup, received the Team Spirit Award from Mrs. Bush. (Photo credit should read ROBERT GIROUX/AFP/Getty Images)
Russian First Lady Naina Yeltsin (L) and her summit hostess Barbara Bush (C) making bologna and cheese sandwiches for distribution to the homeless. (Photo by Cynthia Johnson/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
US First Lady Barbara Bush and her son George Bush Jr attend the 1992 Republican National Convention on August 17, 1992 in Houston. AFP PHOTO CHRIS WILKINS (Photo credit should read CHRIS WILKINS/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. President George Bush (L) and First Lady Barbara Bush play with confetti 20 August 1992 as it showered them at the 1992 Republican National Convention. The confetti and more than 100,000 balloons were dropped after the president concluded his speech. (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
First Lady Barbara Bush addressing Republican Natl. Convention. (Photo by Shelly Katz/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
First Lady Barbara Bush waving to crowd at campaign rally. (Photo by Dirck Halstead/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
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Her dislike of Trump spiked more recently over the way he belittled her son, Jeb, when the New York businessman and the former Florida governor competed for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. Trump also had criticized other members of the Bush clan, including George W. Bush over starting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Page, the Washington bureau chief for USA Today, also reveals that Mrs. Bush blamed Trump for causing her "angst" during the 2016 election - she called it a "heart attack" - and leading her to question whether she was still a Republican. Asked in the months before she died whether she still considered herself a Republican, Mrs. Bush answered: "I'd probably say no today."

The book, based also on five interviews Page conducted with Mrs. Bush, is due in bookstores Tuesday. It comes nearly a year after the passing of the second woman in U.S. history to be the wife of one president and the mother of another.

The former first lady had drafted a tongue-in-cheek letter to send after the November 2016 election welcoming former President Bill Clinton to the club of first spouses. Clinton's wife, Hillary Clinton, was the Democratic candidate, and Mrs. Bush thought, as did many voters, that she would be the next president.

The letter never saw a mailbox. She woke up the morning after the election "and discovered, to my horror, that Trump had won."

Weeks later, however, she wrote to Melania Trump. At the time, Mrs. Trump was the subject of intense speculation over whether she would relocate to the White House from her family's penthouse at New York's Trump Tower. Mrs. Bush encouraged the incoming first lady to do what was best for her and for the couple's young son, Barron. Mrs. Trump attended her predecessor's funeral.

Until the day she died, Mrs. Bush also kept on her bedside table a red, white and blue digital clock, given to her as a joke, that counted down to the end of Trump's term.

Mrs. Bush, who had been living in constant pain, fell and broke her back shortly before she died. In the hospital, after receiving the news that she was dying, she asked her doctor to keep it a secret. Once back at her Houston home, receiving only palliative care, she sat in the den holding hands with her husband of 73 years. They had the longest presidential marriage in U.S. history.

He gave "Bar," as he called her, permission to die, and she gave her then-93-year-old husband permission to live.

Then they each had a drink: bourbon for Mrs. Bush, a vodka martini for the former president.

She died two days later.

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