The apology was carried by a Bush spokesman on Wednesday night, a day after actress Heather Lind made the claim in an online post.
“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,” the actress wrote in the now-deleted Instagram post.
“And then, all the while being photographed touched me again. Barbara rolled her eyes as if to say 'not again,’ " she said, adding that his "security guard told me I shouldn’t have stood next to him for the photo.”
The issue received widespread coverage after it was picked up by The Daily Mail on Tuesday.
Shortly after, New York actress Jordana Grolnick made a similar claim, telling website Deadspin that the former president groped her during a photo op in August 2016 backstage at a Maine theater.
"We all circled around him and Barbara for a photo, and I was right next to him," Grolnick told the website. "He reached his right hand around to my behind, and as we smiled for the photo he asked the group, 'Do you want to know who my favorite magician is?' As I felt his hand dig into my flesh, he said, 'David Cop-a-Feel!' "
Jim McGrath, a Bush spokesperson, claimed the former head of state had no intention of abusing the actress.
"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,” he said, claiming Bush only made the move “to try to put people at ease”.
“President Bush would never — under any circumstance — intentionally cause anyone distress, and he most sincerely apologizes if his attempt at humor offended Ms Lind,” the spokesperson said.
President Donald Trump and former President Bill Clinton have also been accused of abusing women.