Longtime Republican attorney C. Boyden Gray dead at 80

May 22, 2023

Longtime Republicans were saddened this weekend to learn that a Washington icon had passed away. 

According to the Washington Post, lawyer C. Boyden Gray died in either late hours of Saturday night or early on Sunday morning at the age of 80 due to heart problems.

From Democrat to Republican

The paper noted that Gray served as White House counsel under President George H.W. Bush where he "was influential in shepherding Republican judicial and Justice Department nominees as a strategist and fundraiser."

Originally hailing from North Carolina, Gray became a clerk for Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren and then pursued a career as a corporate antitrust lawyer.

Despite being raised as a Democrat, Gray found himself being "swept into the orbit of" President Ronald Regan and grew particularly close with then Vice President George Bush.

The Post stated that the two men were known to be members of the Alibi Club, "one of the most exclusive and secretive" clubs in the nation's capital. The pair also enjoyed a family connection, as their fathers had golfed together.

Success in the private sector

Gray was appointed to act both as Bush's counsel as well as his deputy chief of staff. He also worked on a presidential task force concerned with regulatory reform.

In 1988 he became an attorney for the Bush presidential campaign before subsequently being made White House counsel the following year.

However, Gray's time in the Bush administration was not without controversy, as he clashed with Secretary of State James A. Baker III while backing the failed nomination of  John G. Tower as defense secretary.

Gray went on to spend just over a dozen years working as a corporate lobbyist and practicing law at Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, where he was a partner.

Gray remembered as "a devoted friend as well as a committed public servant"

Gray joined the administration of President George W. Bush by becoming ambassador to the European Union in 2006. He also acted as special envoy for European affairs and special envoy for Eurasian energy.

Tributes to Gray quickly appeared on social media, including from the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.

It tweeted, "We are saddened upon learning about Ambassador C. Boyden Gray's passing. Mr. Gray was President Bush's closest and most dependable senior legal advisor from 1981 until 1993. Boyden Gray served as a devoted friend as well as a committed public servant."


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