George W. Bush gives Michelle Obama candy at father's funeral

Heather Nauert
CREDIT AP Shutterstock
Author

07 December, 2018

CNN host Don Lemon explained that he couldn't shake hands with President Donald Trump had he been in Barack Obama's shoes yesterday, when the two former presidents warmly greeted each other at George H.W. Bush's funeral.

The national funeral service capped three days of remembrance in Washington before Bush's remains return to Texas on Wednesday for burial Thursday.

He gave Mrs Obama the candy as he was shaking her hand in the Washington National Cathedral on Wednesday for his father George W.H. Bush's funeral. His final resting place is alongside his wife and Robin Bush, the daughter they lost to leukemia at age 3.

Bush, the 41st United States president, occupied the White House from 1989 to 1993, navigating the collapse of the Soviet Union and expelling former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's forces from oil-rich Kuwait.

Addressing a funeral at Houston's St. Martin's Episcopal Church where the 41st president and his family regularly worshipped, Bush's former secretary of state and confidant for decades, James Baker, addressed him as "jefe", Spanish for "boss".

He was president from 1989-1993 and was known for overseeing a post-Cold War transition as well as the Gulf War. The funeral of former President Ronald Reagan in 2004 brought together both Bushes, Clinton, Carter and Gerald Ford.

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Still, there were reminders of lingering tensions. Trump shook hands with Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama, did not engage with Bill or Hillary Clinton, and promptly took his seat at the end of the row. George W. Bush, who as president was sometimes prone to an occasional cry, appeared to steel himself with deep breaths throughout the service before letting out a sob. "He'd look for the good in each person, and he usually found it". Trump sat mostly motionless next to first lady Melania Trump throughout much of the service.

Since Bush's death, Trump has traded his usual provocative posture for one of respect and solemnity, tweeting before heading to the cathedral about "a day of celebration for a great man". He will be missed! So, he handed the 94-year-old the phone as Bush began to say his final goodbye. "We'll sing for our President".

Brian Mulroney, Canada's prime minister at the time, couldn't help but notice - and ultimately couldn't resist. One of only a handful of Union Pacific trains to bear a color scheme other than the company's traditional gray and yellow, it's painted to resemble Air Force One with a white body, a presidential seal and and long vertical bars of blue.

"Through our tears, let us know the blessings of knowing and loving you, a great and noble man, the best father a son or daughter could ask", Bush said.

In the awkward scene referenced by the two, Trump can be seen walking into a church aisle where the Obamas and Clintons are seated as well. He has laid in state in Washington since Monday and will lay in state in Houston after the funeral.


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