Why people are mad about this Women's March tribute to Barbara Bush

Barbara Bush, pictured in 2008, died Tuesday. (Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Barbara Bush, pictured in 2008, died Tuesday. (Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Since news of Barbara Bush’s death broke Tuesday, social media has been flooded with tributes honoring the 92-year-old former first lady.

Some of the homages have been accused of missing the mark, however. President Trump was mocked after the White House released a statement with the date off by a year.

But a tribute posted on the Twitter page for the Women’s March seems to be causing a more contentious stir.

The tweet, sent Tuesday evening, told Bush to “rest in peace and power.”

Many followers felt that praising Bush was at odds with the Women’s March‘s feminist message, citing her criticism of Anita Hill and controversial statements she made about Hurricane Katrina victims.

Much of the flak stems from a passage in Bush’s 1994 memoir detailing her thoughts about Hill’s assertions that she was sexually harassed by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Though Bush acknowledged that “sexual harassment is wrong” and expressed hope that the hearings would give a voice to other women, she was dismissive of “women’s groups” and doubted Hill’s statements.

“All the women’s groups are up in arms and the hue and cry for Clarence’s blood can be heard from every side,” she wrote. “It is setting a picture that anyone can testify if he or she wants and cause doubts.”

In 2005, Bush made headlines when she commented that victims of Hurricane Katrina who had been evacuated to Texas would handle their situations because they were “underprivileged anyway,” a remark that was perceived as insensitive and privileged.

These controversies prompted many to object to the Women’s March’s celebration of Bush’s legacy.

Several critics also noted the term “rest in power” is typically used to reference someone who was denied peace and justice by society — something they say Bush, the matriarch of one of the nation’s most powerful political families, did not face.

It’s the second time in a week the Women’s March Twitter feed has run afoul of its followers. A tweet decrying the closure of sex worker resource Backpage.com was bashed for enabling the underpinnings of “sex slavery.”

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