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George Bush Event Timeline

January 20, 1989

George H.W. Bush (41) Event Timeline
01/20/1989 – 01/20/1993


Accepts nomination at Republican convention.  “Read my lips:  no new taxes.”


Election Day.  George Bush defeats Michael Dukakis winning 79% of the electoral vote and 53% of the popular vote.




Electoral votes counted in Joint Session of Congress.


Cleveland Elementary School shooting (Stockton, CA), five children killed and 29 children and one teacher wounded by man with semi-automatic weapon.


Inaugural Address.  “I have spoken of a Thousand Points of Light, of all the community organizations that are spread like stars throughout the Nation, doing good. . .The old ideas are new again because they're not old, they are timeless: duty, sacrifice, commitment, and a patriotism that finds its expression in taking part and pitching in.”


Address to Joint Session of Congress on Administration Goals (State of the Union).


Statement on the Failure of Senate to Approve the Nomination of John Tower as Secretary of Defense.  This was the first rejection of a Presidential cabinet nominee in 30 years.


Temporary ban on import of semi-automatic rifles announced by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms.


The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill.


Signs the Whistle-blower Protection Act of 1989, supporting protection of whistle-blowers from reprisals.

04/17/1989 Offers Poland assistance during severe economic problems. 


Signs the Bipartisan Accord on Central America.


Executive Order establishes the National Space Council.

05/12/1989 Gives speech on Soviet Union at TAMU Commencement. 


Chinese government begins bloody crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators who had been gathered in Tiananmen Square starting mid-April.


Remarks condemning Tiananmen Square Incident.

06/12/1989 Signs “The Prevention of Dangerous Military Activities” pledging that neither the U.S. or the Soviet Union will use force against the other in responding to any accidental military contact or incident. 


Remarks on Supreme Court Decision in Webster v. Reproductive Health Services holding that states have power to restrict abortion on demand.


Administration bans import of 43 types of semi-automatic weapons (but does not affect domestic manufacturers).


Remarks on signing Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act (FIREA).


Loma Prieta earthquake hits during the third game of the World Series, causing heavy damage in Oakland and the San Francisco peninsula.


The Berlin Wall falls.


Signs the Fair Labor Standards Amendments.

12/02/1989 - 12/03/1989

Meetings with Soviet President Gorbachev at Malta.


Address to the Nation on United States invasion of Panama ("Operation Just Cause"); ousting of General Manuel Noriega.



01/31/1990 U.S. Operation Just Cause ends
02/08-09/1990 U.S. Secretary of State James Baker in Moscow has extended talks with Soviet Foreign Minister Shevardnadze and President Mikhail Gorbachev on the reunification of Germany and arms control. With Gorbachev, Baker suggests the possibility that a reunified Germany might not be a full member of NATO. There was some agreement on mutual troop reductions in central Europe. In a subsequently published record of the discussions with Gorbachev, Baker states that ". . . not an inch of NATO's present military jurisdiction will spread in an eastern direction." 


Statement on the Release of Nelson Mandela.


State of the Union Address.


Swears in Antonio Novello as Surgeon General, first Hispanic and first Puerto Rican to hold the post.


Remarks to White House Conference on Science and Economics of Global Change.


Signs agreements with Soviet President Gorbachev in Washington, DC, including chemical and nuclear weapons reductions. 


Statement on Federal budget negotiations reverses “no new taxes” campaign pledge.


Around this date, the economy entered recession, closing the longest peacetime expansion up to that point.


Signs the Americans with Disabilities Act.


Iraq Invades Kuwait.

09/09/1990 Meets Gorbachev in Finland to issue joint declaration


Address to Joint Session of Congress on Persian Gulf Crisis and Budget Deficit. “I cannot predict just how long it will take to convince Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait. Sanctions will take time to have their full intended effect. We will continue to review all options with our allies, but let it be clear: we will not let this aggression stand.”


Address to the Nation on the Federal Budget Agreement.  “This agreement will also raise revenue. I'm not, and I know you're not, a fan of tax increases.”


Addresses German People on Reunification of Germany.

10/03/1990 Germany joins NATO


Vetoes Civil Rights Act of 1990. “Despite the use of the term "civil rights" in the title of S. 2104, the bill actually employs a maze of highly legalistic language to introduce the destructive force of quotas into our Nation's employment system.”


Signs Omnibus Budget Act with increases in tax revenues.


Increases U.S. Troops in Saudi Arabia.


Signs the Clean Air Act of 1990.


Signs Treaty limiting conventional armed forces in Europe.


Signs the Immigration Act of 1990.



01/13/1991 Condemns Soviet intervention in democratic uprisings in Lithuania and Latvia. 


Signs Resolution Authorizing the Use of Military Force Against Iraq.


Address to the Nation on Persian Gulf military action (“Desert Storm”).


News Conference on the Persian Gulf Conflict.


By Executive Order 12744, designates as a “combat zone” the Persian Gulf and surrounding areas.


State of the Union Address. Proposes joint cuts to military troops in Europe.


Address to the Nation announcing ground troop operations in Operation Desert Storm.


Address to the Nation on Suspension of Offensive Operations in Persian Gulf. Halting invasion of Iraq and allowing Saddam Hussein to stay in power.


Address to Joint Session of Congress on Cessation of Persian Gulf Conflict.


About this date, the economic recession ended, and a period of economic expansion began.


US Sanctions on South Africa Removed.


Signs START-I treaty in Moscow.

08/01/1991 Speech in Kiev during stay in Ukraine, Soviet Union. "In Moscow, I outlined our approach: We will support those in the center and the Republics who pursue freedom, democracy, and economic liberty. We will determine our support not on the basis of personalities but on the basis of principles."


About this date, the World Wide Web was released for general public use.

08/21/1991 In a Press Conference, supports Gorbachev and condemns attempted coup in the Soviet Union. The attempted coup by hard-line Communists had the effect of propelling into power Boris Yeltsin and his reformist supporters.
09/04/1991 Secretary of State James Baker news conference about U.S. policy towards Soviet Union and his planned trip to Moscow. He articulates five basic principles to guide U.S. policy toward the emerging republics: self-determination consistent with democratic principles, recognition of existing borders, support for democracy and rule of law, preservation of human rights and rights of national minorities, and respect for international law and obligations. (Link to video of news conference.)
09/27/1991 Prime-time Address to the Nation from the Oval Office on reducing nuclear stockpiles. "The prospect of a Soviet invasion into Western Europe, launched with little or no warning is no longer a realistic threat."

10/10/1991 - 10/13/1991

Senate Judiciary Committee hears testimony of Anita Hill accusing Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment.


Clarence Thomas is confirmed as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.


Signs the Civil Rights Act of 1991.

12/08/1991 Belavezha Accords signed by Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, Belarus, and Ukraine. 
12/21/1991 Founding of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).


Statement on USSR General Secretary Gorbachev resignation as President of the Soviet Union; the USSR officially ceases to exist.




State of the Union Address.


Meets with Russian President Boris Yeltsin at Camp David.


Wins New Hampshire Primary, challenged by conservative Patrick Buchanan.


Announces aid to former Soviet Union.


Rioting begins in Los Angeles following acquittal of Los Angeles Police Officers in videotaped beating of Rodney King.


Remarks on Los Angeles riots, expressing concerns about excessive police violence and excessive public violence.


Address to the Nation on the Civil Disturbances in Los Angeles. “The wanton destruction of life and property is not a legitimate expression of outrage with injustice. It is itself injustice. And no rationalization, no matter how heartfelt, no matter how eloquent, can make it otherwise.”

05/23/1992 Signs Nuclear Arms Reduction Agreement.


Makes an Address to the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


Signs the Framework Convention on Climate Change.


With Russian President Yeltsin, Announces U.S.-Russian Nuclear Agreement.


Signs Supplemental Appropriations Act, includes assistance for urban areas, especially including Los Angeles.


Signs the Unemployment Compensation Amendments of 1992.


Accepts nomination by Republican Party for a second term.

09/23/1992 U.S. ends nuclear weapon testing.
10/02/1992 Signs Hartfield-Exon-Mitchell Amendment through Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act


Election Day. Loses to Democratic Candidate Bill Clinton, winning only 31% of the electoral vote and 37% of the popular vote (Independent H. Ross Perot wins 19% of the popular vote but no electoral votes).


Address to the Nation on the situation in Somalia and US participation in United Nations humanitarian mission.  U.S. troops deploy to Somalia on 12/08/1992.


Remarks on Signing the North American Free Trade Agreement. “If democracy is to be consolidated, the gulfs that separate the few who are very rich from the many who are very poor, that divide civilian from military institutions, that split citizens of European heritage from indigenous peoples, these gulfs must be bridged, and economic reform must ensure upward mobility and new opportunities for a better life for all citizens of the Americas.”




In Moscow, George Bush and Boris Yeltsin sign START-II Treaty.


Remarks at a Celebration of the Points of Light. “I'd like to remind you of what that strategy is: first, changing attitudes so that all Americans define a successful life as one that includes serving others; and second, identifying what is already working so that those efforts can be enlarged and multiplied; and third, encouraging leaders to help others become Points of Light. . .”

Last edited 07/17/2023

George Bush, George Bush Event Timeline Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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