Bush spokesman apologizes for premature Mandela condolences

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

(CNN) — A spokesman for former President George H.W. Bush apologized Sunday for mistakenly sending condolences for the passing of Nelson Mandela, even though the former South African president is alive and was discharged from the hospital later in the day.

Jim McGrath explained via Twitter that the statement he sent was the result of misreading the headline on a news flash from The Washington Post. “Stupid mistake by me. Apologies to all,” he wrote.

At 5:16 a.m. ET, The Washington Post sent out a news alert with the headline: “Nelson Mandela discharged from hospital; condition still critical.” McGrath sent out a statement “on the death of Nelson Mandela” shortly before 9 a.m. ET

“Barbara and I mourn the passing of one of the greatest believers in freedom we have had the privilege to know,” read the first line of the e-mail.

Earlier in the day, McGrath at first defended the move saying he sent the statement based off a report from the news organization. “We have no independent verification of events in South Africa,” he said in a statement to CNN.

But later he admitted to misreading the report and rushing to send out the condolences. He told The Washington Post in an interview that he misread the word “discharge.”

“I apologize, because I know a put a lot of people into a modestly stressful position, which is never my intent for my friends in the media,” McGrath said “So I’m sorry about that. A massive egg on my face, I’m so sorry.”

Around noon, he again tweeted: “The mistake was mine and not the Bushes.”

FOX 2 Newsletters

Sign up for a newsletter from FOX 2 to get updates about news and weather. We offer daily headlines, breaking news, severe weather, and forecast emails.

About FOX 2 News

FOX 2 and KPLR 11 in St. Louis cover the news in Missouri and Illinois. There are over 68 hours of live news and local programming on-air each week. Our website and live video streams operate 24/7. Download our apps for alerts and follow us on social media for updates in your feed.

President Harry Truman said: “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” That spirit is alive and well at Fox 2. Our teamwork is on display each and every day.

Our news slogan is: “Coverage You Can Count On.” We quite frankly are too busy to worry about who gets the credit. Our main concern is serving the viewer.

We go where the stories take us. Whether it be Washington, D.C when a Belleville man opened fire during a congressional baseball game practice or to Puerto Rico where local Ameren crews restored power after more than 5 months in the dark.

Coverage You Can Count On means “Waking up your Day” with our top-rated morning show. From 4:00 am-10:00 am we are leading the way with breaking news. But our early morning crew also knows how to have some fun! Our strong commitment to the communities we serve is highlighted with our Friday neighborhood shows.

Our investigative unit consists of three reporters. Elliott Davis focuses on government waste, Chris Hayes is our investigative reporter, and Mike Colombo is our consumer reporter. They work in unison with the news department by sharing resources and ideas.

We continue to cover breaking news aggressively and relied on our seasoned journalists to make a difference with the stories we covered. The shooting of Arnold Police Officer Ryan O’Connor is just one example of that. Jasmine Huda was the only reporter who had exclusive access to the O’Connor family during his amazing rehabilitation in Colorado.

Last, but certainly not least, FOX 2 and KPLR 11 are committed to covering local politics. We host debates among candidates and have the most extensive presidential election coverage. Our commitment to politics isn’t just during an election year. We produce two political shows that air every weekend.


Latest News

More News