When former president George Herbert Walker Bush died on Friday at the age of 94, he left behind a legacy of playing an instrumental role in many of the worst, most racist, most oppressive policies in modern American history, to say nothing for his alleged penchant for sexual harassment and assault.
Lost in all the masturbatory hagiography that’s followed Bush Sr.’s death, however, is what I consider the most important moment of his entire presidency: When he barfed in the lap of the Japanese prime minister.
Let’s take a nauseating trip down memory lane to the heady days of early 1992: President Bush had taken a brief respite from the campaign trail, and was spending the first few days of the new year on a presidential trip to Japan. There he spent the afternoon of January 8 playing a vigorous game of tennis against the Japanese royal family ahead of a state dinner hosted by Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa.
About an hour into the evening’s banquet, the president turned pale and keeled over into the prime minsters lap, into which he spewed chunks all over. Then he passed out.
Television cameras captured the whole thing.
According to presidential historian Brian Abrams, Bush revived himself after his personal physician loosened his tie and unzipped #41's trousers. The president then excused himself from the banquet. His wife Barbara stayed behind, which was awfully nice and also extremely weird of her, all things considered.
Not only has the incident gone down in infamy in-and-of itself, it’s also officially entered the Japanese lexicon as “Bushu-suru” or “do the Bush thing” (i.e. “barf everywhere”). That’s real “legacy” stuff, folks. Barfing and becoming a verb? I’d like to see Donald Trump try that (seriously, I would very much like to see that).
America, clearly, has always been great.