No chumminess between Trump, ex-US presidents at funeral
US President Donald Trump joined the group of living ex-US presidents on Wednesday to commemorate the life of former president George H. W. Bush, but in a service characterized by emotion and good feeling, warmth between the current and former occupants of the White House was decidedly absent.
Trump shook hands awkwardly with his predecessor, Barack Obama, and former first lady Michelle Obama as he took his place in the front row of the service at the Washington National Cathedral.
He did not reach out to former president Bill Clinton or former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, who were seated next to the Obamas. Hillary Clinton, who lost to Trump in the 2016 presidential election, nodded but did not smile as the one-time New York businessman and his wife, Melania, joined the group that included former president Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn.
Trump then proceeded to sit through the service, often with his arms folded over his chest and his eyes fixed in an intense stare ahead.
The fact that he came, however, and was welcomed by the Bush family, with whom he also has sparred, provided a glimpse of bipartisanship and political civility that many feel are lacking since Trump took office in January 2017.
The president did not attend a service that was similar in scale at the cathedral for Republican Senator John McCain, who died earlier this year, and had to be talked into keeping the American flag at half-staff over the White House.
Trump and McCain had feuded repeatedly and at his service, the senator’s daughter Meghan McCain rebuked Trump in an emotional speech.