Trend Watch

Éminence Grise

Critical remarks from former president George H.W. Bush (41) about advisers to former president George W. Bush (43)


Lookups spiked on November 5, 2015.


A new biography of former president George H.W. Bush includes his critical thoughts on the close advisers to his son, George W. Bush. He made harsh remarks about Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, and also said that Lynne Cheney, Dick Cheney's wife, influenced the then-vice president in his post-9/11 policy positions, calling her an "éminence grise."

Éminence grise (literally, "gray eminence" in French) means "a confidential agent" and especially "one exercising unsuspected or unofficial power." It comes from the time of France's King Louis XIII, whose powerful minister was Cardinal Richelieu, known as "Éminence rouge" for the red color of his robe. Richelieu's own adviser was the monk known as Père Joseph, whose robes were gray.

The Éminence grise is mentioned as a feared and powerful figure in The Three Musketeers.

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