BREAKING NEWS Barrett confirmed as Supreme Court justice in partisan vote Full Story
BREAKING NEWS Local Assistance Center to open for Trinity County residents affected by August Complex Full Story
SEVERE WX : Freeze Warning View Alerts

Schwarzenegger remembers unlikely friendship with Bush

President George H.W. Bush's friend, former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

Posted: Dec 3, 2018 5:28 PM
Updated: Dec 3, 2018 5:58 PM

Arnold Schwarzenegger's reminiscences about his time with former President George H.W. Bush have given rise to a mystery surrounding a sledding excursion at Camp David in which first lady Barbara Bush broke her leg.

What really happened that day in 1991 to cause Mrs. Bush's injury?

In an interview Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union," anchor Jake Tapper asked Schwarzenegger about a photo of him and the 41st president on a toboggan at the presidential retreat, and the actor and former California governor recounted things this way: "It was snowing up there, and we had this toboggan, and (Bush) was trying to teach me how to slide that because I was only used to sledding down with Austrian sleds, which you direct kind of with your feet. And so we went down totally out of control, and of course we crashed into Barbara Bush, who broke her leg then after that. So that's why he sent me this picture."

The caption of the photo, written by Bush, reads, "Arnold -- Turn, damn it, Turn!!"

But in 1991, The Washington Post and The New York Times both reported that the first lady broke her leg when she hit a tree after she slid down an icy hill on a saucer sled. Both newspapers reported Schwarzenegger, who was at the time chairman of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, was present.

Barbara Bush's press secretary at the time, Anna Perez, told the Post and the Times that the President yelled, "Bail out! Bail out!" when he saw Barbara Bush going down the hill. "She doesn't know why she didn't bail out. She just held on and the next thing she knew, there was the tree," Perez told the newspapers.

Schwarzenegger wrote about the incident in his memoir, "Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story."

"The president and I came down the hill too fast and crashed into Barbara, and she ended up in the hospital with a broken leg," he said on page 397. "I still have the photo President Bush sent me afterward."

Later on Sunday, "CNN Newsroom" anchor Fredricka Whitfield asked Bush's son, Neil Bush, to clarify Schwarzenegger's comments and provide his own recollection of the order events.

"About the whole notion of the crash and your, you know, mom breaking her leg, so is he saying that he led to the breaking of your mom's leg, or did she break her leg in a different way?" Whitfield asked. "'Cause there are different stories out there. What's your -- what do you recall?"

"Well, she broke the leg running into a — I wasn't there, but she broke the leg running into a tree," he said.

CNN has reached out to Schwarzenegger for clarification, but he was in Europe and did not respond on Sunday night.

The actor and seven-time Mr. Olympia winner fondly remembered his experiences with the former president at Camp David and elsewhere in his interview Sunday morning.

"We had really a great time up there at Camp David," he told Tapper. "And like I said, it was a great learning experience, you know, hanging out around him. He was kind of like a mentor and kind of like a father figure at the same time."

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 906596

Reported Deaths: 17358
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2997606993
Riverside659021279
San Bernardino626191072
Orange585731447
San Diego54583870
Kern33813416
Fresno30752436
Sacramento25372484
Santa Clara24144388
Alameda23312461
San Joaquin21630489
Contra Costa18621241
Stanislaus17629396
Tulare17495286
Ventura14240164
Imperial12700336
San Francisco12103140
Monterey1137291
San Mateo11075159
Santa Barbara9781120
Merced9465155
Sonoma9312136
Kings822883
Solano728674
Marin7074128
Madera498174
San Luis Obispo414132
Placer409357
Yolo319159
Butte307852
Santa Cruz278825
Napa195715
Shasta187830
Sutter183712
San Benito143715
El Dorado13174
Yuba129310
Mendocino112721
Tehama8728
Lassen7661
Lake69615
Glenn6573
Nevada6088
Humboldt5629
Colusa5506
Calaveras34218
Amador32816
Tuolumne2694
Inyo22715
Siskiyou1930
Mono1802
Del Norte1781
Mariposa782
Plumas680
Modoc290
Trinity250
Sierra60
Alpine30
Unassigned00
Chico
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 52°
Oroville
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 55°
Paradise
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 52°
Chester
Clear
25° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 25°
Red Bluff
Clear
59° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 59°
Willows
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 52°
Fire danger remains high over much of California on this Monday, and that will continue through Tuesday afternoon. Thankfully, most of the strongest wind has passed, and the wind will weaken through midweek.
KHSL Severe
KHSL Radar
KHSL Temperatures

Community Events