Former aide remembers time with President George H.W. Bush

Posted at 5:41 PM, Dec 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-03 19:58:17-05

Bill Phillips spent his weekend re-reading two books about his former boss. It was just one way to commemorate President George H.W. Bush.

The former deputy mayor of Nashville said he knew the 41st president's death was near but it still stings. He pulled pictures from his seven years serving the president, being the director of his political action committee, to his time as a White House aide and assistant campaign manger for his re-election.

"He made it very easy to be loyal. Mr. Bush became my political grandfather," he told NewsChannel 5.

Bush, a WWII veteran, is described as one of the best diplomatic presidents. Phillips touted presiding over the end of the Cold War and the American Disabilities Act as his greatest accomplishments.

Through the ups and downs of the administration, he described Bush as compassionate, serving and kind.

"Politicians have to have a certain amount of ego but he kept his in check better than any politician I worked with," Phillips added. "It wasn't about him, it was about serving."

Phillips recalled a time during the campaign when it hit a rough patch. He was confident he would get fired when Bush called him but it was the opposite.

"Instead he said, 'I just want to thank you for what you did and I know we did the best we could,'" he said. "He didn't push you or criticize you, he was constructive in helping you get better."

Phillips was also wearing colorful George H.W. Bush socks sold by the Republican National Committee to highlight the president's quirky taste in socks.

"When he became wheelchair bound, he said people are going to notice his socks so he started wearing outrageous-looking socks and the black socks went in the drawer and stayed. I have two pairs that I wear frequently and happen to have them on today," Phillips gleefully said. 

Phillips sent condolence letters to George W. Bush and Jeb Bush, much like when their mother Barbara died seven months ago. 

George H.W. and Barbara Bush were married for more than seven decades. 

Phillips said they had a true love affair and were protective of each other.