George W. Bush defuses awkward Obama-Trump-Clinton funeral front row

Awkward would be an accurate description of the moment President Donald Trump and the first lady Melania Trump arrived at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., for the funeral of former president George H.W. Bush.

But leave it to former President George W. Bush to lighten the mood.

Similar to what took place at the late Sen. John McCain’s funeral, Bush had a nice, lighthearted moment with former first lady Michelle Obama.

The other living former presidents and their spouses were already seated, other than the 43rd president, and President Trump greeted his predecessor, Barack Obama and wife Michelle, who were seated next to him, as he took his seat.

Mrs. Obama’s curt response when Trump extended his hand had tongues wagging from the TDS crowd.

But there was quite the contrast when former President George W. Bush arrived.

Bush energetically shook hands with all, working his way down the line. He slipped Mrs. Obama what was said to be a candy mint, mimicking an endearing moment at McCain’s funeral.

The gesture drew a warm smile from the former first lady.


Mrs. Obama and Bush have a close relationship, as she explained during an October appearance on the Today show.

“[President Bush] is my partner in crime at every major thing where all the formers gather. So we’re together all the time, and I love him to death. He’s a wonderful man. He’s a funny man,” she said.

But there is no denying the mood soured considerably after Trump arrived.

(There is little love between Trump and the others as the president goes about his task of cleaning up the messes they all left behind.)

Even Fox News’ Chris Wallace commented on a sudden chill in the air that seemed to go against the assurance the Bush family made to President Trump that there’s be no Trump-bashing.

“I have to say I was struck when President Trump and Melania Trump came to the front row that it was as if a chill had descended on that front row,” Wallace said. “You had seen a lot of chatty talk between the Clintons and the Obamas, the Carters. But when Donald Trump sat down, the greeting that he was given by Barack Obama and Michelle Obama was about as cool as it could have been.”

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Tom Tillison


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