Trumps and Bushes Set Aside Politics for Unity at 41’s Funeral
Despite past frostiness, the two presidential families joined together to honor the former commander-in-chief
The Trumps set aside their political — and, at times bitter — differences with the Bushes when they honored former President George H.W. Bush on Wednesday and participated in his beautiful funeral service at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.
George H.W. Bush, who served as the nation’s 41st president from 1989 to 1993, passed away at age 94 in his home in Houston on Friday night.
Since then, the nation has paid tribute to his life and legacy in recounting the extraordinary sacrifices he made to serve his country as a World War II veteran, a House member, a U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, a CIA director, a vice president, a president — and more.
President Donald Trump has had a strained relationship with the extended Bush family members, stemming from his criticism of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) during the 2016 GOP presidential primaries, from which the infamous “Low Energy Jeb” nickname emerged.
Trump also campaigned against the GOP Establishment, which is represented in large part by many people associated with, and many policies connected to, former President George W. Bush’s presidency.
Jeb Bush and George W. Bush likewise hit back at Trump both during the presidential campaign and since that time.
President Trump, of course, did not attend former first lady Barbara Bush’s funeral in April — but first lady Melania Trump did attend the service.
This week was a different matter altogether.
“Looking forward to being with the Bush family. This is not a funeral, this is a day of celebration for a great man who has led a long and distinguished life. He will be missed!” Trump tweeted on Wednesday morning before the funeral service.
Looking forward to being with the Bush family. This is not a funeral, this is a day of celebration for a great man who has led a long and distinguished life. He will be missed!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 5, 2018
The Trumps also visited the Bushes at Blair House on Tuesday to offer their condolences in person.
Melania Trump gave former first lady Laura Bush and other Bush family members a tour of the White House Christmas decorations that same day.
“A sweet visit during this somber week,” Laura Bush wrote on Instagram.
“Thanks to Mrs. Trump for inviting our family to the White House to see the Christmas decorations and our old friends, the residence staff.”
The president and the first lady attended the funeral service at the National Cathedral and sat in a front row, along with the Democratic former presidents and first ladies — the Obamas, the Clintons, and the Carters.
Although the Trumps’ arrival and seating arrangements were not without awkwardness, their presence at the service provided a gesture of unity during a time of national grief.
George W. Bush delivered an emotional eulogy for his father during the service. Near the end of his speech, he broke down.
The Bushes sat on the other side of the cathedral, in another front row, with their extended family members.
First daughter and presidential adviser Ivanka Trump also attended the funeral service.
After eulogies by several other individuals, including historian and author Jon Meacham and former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.), George W. Bush delivered an emotional eulogy for his father during the service.
Near the end of his speech, he broke down.
Instead of using the opportunity to deliver political jabs at Trump, George W. Bush highlighted his father’s bipartisanship, humility and kindness.
“Dad could relate to people from all walks of life. He was an empathetic man … He looked for the good in each person and he usually found it,” George W. Bush said. “Many a person would tell you that Dad became a mentor and a father figure in their life.”
George W. Bush also praised his father for being a friend and mentor to “perhaps the unlikeliest of all, the man who defeated him, Bill Clinton.”
“And we are going to miss you. Your decency, sincerity, and kind soul will stay with us forever,” the late former president’s son said.
Check out George W. Bush’s eulogy in the video below: