George W. Bush’s fondness for Michelle Obama was evident on Wednesday, as the grieving son snuck her what appeared to be a piece of candy at the state funeral for his father, former president George H.W. Bush.
The former president was greeting his predecessors and successors in the first row at the National Cathedral, when he removed what looked like candy from his pocket and handed it to Mrs. Obama. She smiled at the gesture.
Mrs. Obama, 54, was attending with her husband, former President Barack Obama. Obama and George W. Bush were two of the five living presidents in attendance for the funeral in Washington, D.C.
Earlier this year, Bush was seen on camera offering Mrs. Obama a piece of candy at John McCain’s funeral.
“ 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,” Mrs. Obama said during a visit on the Today show in October.
She went on to explain why she believed the bipartisan moment quickly went viral. “That’s what people are hungry for. … Party doesn’t separate us; color, gender, those kinds of things don’t separate us. It’s the message that we send,” she said.
Ahead of the services, the former first lady paid tribute to Bush Sr. by sharing a throwback photo of the late 41st president giving her a sweet kiss on the cheek in the Oval Office.
“As a public servant, father, and grandfather, President George H.W. Bush was an extraordinary example for us all. His spirit of service and decency will be missed by many, including our family,” she wrote. “I hope his memory will be a guiding light for our country and those around the world.”
As a public servant, father, and grandfather, President George H.W. Bush was an extraordinary example for us all. His spirit of service and decency will be missed by many, including our family. I hope his memory will be a guiding light for our country and those around the world.
A post shared by Michelle Obama (@michelleobama) on Dec 1, 2018 at 12:38pm PST
In order to attend the funeral, Mrs. Obama cancelled her planned book tour appearances for her memoir, Becoming, in Paris and Berlin.
“It’s important to me to join the Bush family in celebrating President George H.W. Bush’s exemplary life,” she wrote on Twitter. “This will unfortunately preclude my visits to Paris and Berlin. I’ve been deeply touched by the enthusiasm for my memoir, and I’m working to reschedule my trip for next year.”
“I hope readers and ticket holders will understand my decision regarding my desire to attend President Bush’s funeral, and join me in paying tribute to him and his tremendous contributions to our world,” she added.
The world first witnessed the unlikely friendship between Mrs. Obama and Bush, 72, when they shared a hug at the opening of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in 2016.
She noted in an interview with Bush’s daughter, Jenna Bush Hager, on Today, though that she and the former president — a Republican, and Mrs. Obama a Democrat — don’t agree on everything.
“We’re all Americans. We all care about our family our kids, and we’re trying to get ahead,” she told Bush Hager, adding, “We have different ideas about what’s the best way to get there.”
Following Thursday’s state funeral, Bush Sr.’s remains will be transported to Houston, where he lived. A second memorial service will also be held at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Houston at 11 a.m. local time on Thursday.
He will then be laid to rest at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum at Texas A&M University. His late wife Barbara as well as their daughter Robin, who died at the age of three from leukemia, are also buried there.