Arnold Schwarzenegger remembered former President George H.W. Bush on Sunday as a “very strong leader” and a mentor to him, saying that he learned from the late president “the good side of politics.”
Schwarzenegger, the former Republican governor of California, was appointed chairman of Bush’s President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports in 1990 in order to help promote healthy living and physical education classes around the country. In the position, Schwarzenegger said, he learned an important lesson from the 41st president.
“I learned from him the good sides of politics, that you can cross the aisle and that you can talk to the other side, respect the other side, even though you disagree and all that stuff,” Schwarzenegger told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” Sunday.
Schwarzenegger said that Bush, who died on Friday at the age of 94, often invited him to Camp David, where the two spent quality time together doing outdoor activities and games. “It was a great learning experience, you know, hanging out around him,” he said of their time there. “He was kind of like a mentor and kind of like a father figure at the same time.”
The former governor also spoke about Bush’s kindness.
“I think everyone else knows that he was just a very kind man and that he did not see in the other side — and I think that this is very appropriate to talk about this today — that he did not see in the other side the enemy,” he said, adding that Bush always praised everyone.
“He never really tried to attack anyone or be mean,” Schwarzenegger said. “He just was a strong guy, a very strong leader, but at the same time a kind leader.”