Trump vis­its Bush fam­ily ahead of state funeral

Business Day - - INTERNATIONAL - Agency Staff Wash­ing­ton /AFP

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump went in per­son on Tues­day to pay his re­spects to the griev­ing Bush fam­ily in his lat­est show of peacemaking with the po­lit­i­cal clan he once fought bit­terly.

Trump, whose as­cen­dancy to the head of the Re­pub­li­can Party saw him ex­change vit­ri­olic at­tacks with the Bushes, has taken pains to demon­strate unity since the death of for­mer pres­i­dent Ge­orge HW Bush, aged 94, on Fri­day.

Ahead of Wed­nes­day’s state funeral, the pres­i­dent tweeted he would visit the “won­der­ful Bush fam­ily” at the pres­i­den­tial guest res­i­dence Blair House across from the White House.

On a chilly af­ter­noon, for­mer pres­i­dent Ge­orge W Bush, son of the el­der Bush, greeted Trump and the first lady, Me­la­nia, out­side Blair House and took them in­side for a pri­vate visit. Ear­lier, Laura Bush went over to get a tour with Me­la­nia of the White House Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions.

Trump’s re­la­tions with the Re­pub­li­can es­tab­lish­ment have been rocky since his in­sur­gent cam­paign took him to the party’s nom­i­na­tion and then a stun­ning elec­tion win in 2016.

He did not at­tend the 2018 funeral of the el­der Bush’s wife, Bar­bara, even though for­mer pres­i­dents Barack Obama, Ge­orge W Bush and Bill Clin­ton were there. Me­la­nia rep­re­sented the White House.

Trump also did not at­tend the funeral in Au­gust of an­other Re­pub­li­can leader, for­mer sen­a­tor John McCain.

The Bush fam­ily has as­sured Trump that eu­lo­gies at the funeral will avoid any crit­i­cism of him, the Wash­ing­ton Post re­ported. Af­ter meet­ing with the Trumps, and one day af­ter Mon­day’s som­bre cer­e­mony in which much of of­fi­cial Wash­ing­ton paid their re­spects, Ge­orge and Laura Bush made a low-key re­turn to the Capi­tol ro­tunda, ac­com­pa­nied by daugh­ters Jenna Bush Hager and Bar­bara Bush, to stand once more be­fore the flag-draped cof­fin.

The for­mer pres­i­dent smiled warmly, shook hands and hugged vis­i­tors and the gath­ered well-wish­ers.

/AFP

Pay­ing tribute: For­mer US pres­i­dent Ge­orge HW Bush has been re­mem­bered across the world, in­clud­ing in Kosovo.

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