(CNN) — Former President George H.W. Bush said Monday that he will vote for Hillary Clinton in November, according to sources close to the 41st President — an extraordinary rebuke of his own party’s nominee.
The sources said this was not the first time Bush had disclosed his intention to vote for Clinton.
The comments came during a receiving line for board members of the bipartisan Points of Light Foundation when Bush was speaking to Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. There were roughly 40 people in the room, and it’s not clear how many people heard him, though multiple sources did.
The Republican former president’s embrace of the Democratic nominee represents a dramatic new chapter in the complicated three-decade-old relationship between the two most prominent families in American politics.
It’s a stunning political move — one that comes just 49 days from the election, and less than a week before Clinton and Donald Trump square off in their first debate.
News of his support for Clinton came first on Facebook, when Kennedy Townsend posted a photo of herself with George H.W. Bush, along with the caption: “The President told me he’s voting for Hillary!!”
Kennedy Townsend sits on the advisory board of the Points of Light Foundation.
Bush family representatives declined to respond publicly.
“The vote President Bush will cast as a private citizen in some 50 days will be just that: a private vote cast in some 50 days. He is not commenting on the presidential race in the interim,” Bush spokesman Jim McGrath said in a statement.
But sources with knowledge of the conversation told CNN they were surprised and disappointed that Kennedy Townsend had publicly shared a private conversation with the former president.