As of today, three American presidents have public statues in the Hungarian capital.
Washington, Reagan, and now Bush. The latter was the first American president to visit us.
– said today the statue of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, George Bush Sr., at the inauguration of the work of sculptor István Máté, quoting his mentor, former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. He reminded me that in addition to freedom, a monument to the German and Soviet occupation can also be seen in this downtown square. The 41st President of the United States (1989-93) lived to be 94 years old and died in 2018.
– quoted the Prime Minister George Bush, with whom he met in 1989 as an opposition leader in Budapest. The Republican politician said these words to a six-year-old girl as a journeyer.
– emphasized at the event David Davidstein, the US Ambassador who had just left Budapest, who added President Bush, “While waves of uncertainty continue, including the coronavirus pandemic, freedom serves as a reference for us”.
The elder Bush’s son, President George W. Bush (2001-09), thanked him for inaugurating a statue of his father in Budapest.
– the younger President Bush sent a message to the Hungarians, recalling his visit to Budapest in 2006 on the 50th anniversary of the 1956 revolution. His brother, former governor Jeb Bush, sent a video message.
– recalled Dan Quayle, former Bush vice president. George Pataki, the former Republican governor of New York State of Hungarian descent, and former US ambassador April Foley also arrived.
The politician came to Hungary in July 1989 – a week after the death of János Kádár – as the first incumbent American president. He ran on Vasas Track, and when he had to give a speech in Kossuth Square in the rain, he tore his soaked papers apart and began to speak from the head, greeting the crowd celebrating him with “pure heart” in the pouring rain. He also handed her a coat to a cold woman.
Frank Tibor told the Index. Professor Emeritus of the Department of American Studies at the Eötvös Loránd University BTK reminded: the statue of George Washington in the city park erected in 1906 was the first to be erected as an American president by Hungarian citizens in Budapest.
This was followed by the inauguration of the statue of President Ronald Reagan (1981–89), also the work of István Máté, in 2011 on the corner of Szabadság Square and Zoltán Street, near the American Embassy. Elder Bush was Vice President of Reagan in the ’80s.
Said Academician Frank Tibor.
(Cover image: Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (j) and US Ambassador David Cornstein (b) at the ceremonial inauguration of the statue in honor of the 41st late President of the United States George HW Bush on Freedom Square in Budapest on October 27, 2020.