“At age 93, President Bush has been confined to a wheelchair for roughly five years, so his arm falls on the lower waist of people with whom he takes pictures,” the statement read.
“To try to put people at ease, the president routinely tells the same joke — and on occasion, he has patted women’s rears in what he intended to be a good-natured manner. Some have seen it as innocent; others clearly view it as inappropriate," the statement from Bush spokesman Jim McGrath continued.
“To anyone he has offended, President Bush apologizes most sincerely," he said.
The clarification comes just hours after Bush first apologized following actress Heather Lind accusing him of sexually assaulting her during a photo op four years ago.
“When I got the chance to meet George H. W. Bush four years ago to promote a historical television show I was working on, he sexually assaulted me while I was posing for a similar photo. He didn’t shake my hand. He touched me from behind from his wheelchair with his wife Barbara Bush by his side. He told me a dirty joke,” Lind wrote in a now-deleted Instagram post that was first reported by The Daily Mail on Tuesday.
Lind claimed in the post that Bush touched her a second time at the event.
“And then, all the while being photographed, touched me again. Barbara rolled her eyes as if to say 'not again,’ " Lind said, adding that Bush’s "security guard told me I shouldn’t have stood next to him for the photo.”
The spokesman for the former president apologized for the incident earlier Wednesday.
“President Bush would never — under any circumstance — intentionally cause anyone distress, and he most sincerely apologizes if his attempt at humor offended Ms. Lind,” he said.