Custom topped pressure at former President George H.W. Bush‘s state funeral on Wednesday when former presidential , Invoice and Hillary Clinton, and Barack and Michelle Obama, sat subsequent to President Donald Trump and First Girl Melania Trump on the Nationwide Cathedral.
Subsequent to the Clintons sat Jimmy Carter and spouse Rosalynn, reflecting the office-holding chronological order of the 5 residing presidents. (Bush’s oldest son, former President George W. Bush, was seated within the first row on the other facet of the aisle alongside spouse Laura, his siblings and their spouses.)
Behind the previous presidents sat Vice President Mike Pence and spouse Karen, who had been accompanied in the identical row by former vice presidents Dan Quayle, Dick Cheney and Joe Biden alongside their wives Marilyn, Lynne and Jill, respectively.
President Trump and spouse Melania greeted the Obamas with handshakes upon arrival, however didn’t seem to instantly acknowledge the Clintons.
Whereas the seating preparations are consistent with historic priority, the criticism President Trump has obtained from his predecessors has given higher significance to the presidential lineup.
“He talked about having Trump at his funeral as a result of it’s protocol and George had deep respect for the workplace of the presidency — so he would have it no different manner,” Quayle beforehand informed PEOPLE, recalling a latest dialog with Bush earlier than his demise.
The 41st president died on Nov. 30 on the age of 94.
The choice to have President Trump at his funeral displays Bush’s sturdy sense of responsibility, because the former businessman has disparaged the Bush household for years — a lot in order that Bush’s late spouse, Barbara Bush, didn’t need the president at her funeral. (She died in April, only a brief eight months earlier than her beloved husband of greater than 70 years).
“The imply Twitters and the name-calling — Bush discovered that gauche and that’s the reason Barbara Bush didn’t need Trump at her funeral,” presidential historian and household pal Douglas Brinkley informed PEOPLE.
The Clintons and Obamas have additionally had fraught relations with Trump. From the 2016 presidential marketing campaign in which Trump defeated Mrs. Clinton with guarantees to “lock her up,” and years of stoking the false birther conspiracy by questioning Obama’s citizenship, to his harmful tweets about nuclear struggle and push to disclaim asylum seekers, the Clintons and Obamas have had quite a few causes to push again towards the present president.
“We’re People. We’re supposed to face as much as bullies, not comply with them,” former President Obama mentioned after Trump failed to completely condemn the deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, final yr, based on The Hill. “We’re supposed to face as much as discrimination and we’re certain as heck supposed to face up clearly and unequivocally to Nazi sympathizers.”
This is only one of plenty of points wherein Obama has been vital of President Trump. And in September, Mrs. Clinton summarized her personal emotions in regards to the present administration with an essay for The Atlantic titled, “American Democracy Is In Disaster.”
Their need to honor the previous president is obvious within the statements given following Bush’s demise. Mrs. Obama wrote on Instagram that Bush “was a unprecedented instance for us all.”
On Dec. 1, former secretary of state Mrs. Clinton wrote, “I at all times valued his need to hear, take a look at proof & ask for concepts, even from folks w/ completely different beliefs. My coronary heart goes out to your entire Bush household.”
As a public servant, father, and grandfather, President George H.W. Bush was a unprecedented instance for us all. His spirit of service and decency will likely be missed by many, together with our household. I hope his reminiscence will likely be a guiding gentle for our nation and people all over the world.
A publish shared by Michelle Obama (@michelleobama) on Dec 1, 2018 at 12:38pm PST
George H.W. Bush was a beloved father & grandfather, a struggle hero, a public servant, & a category act. In my experiences w/ him, I at all times valued his need to hear, take a look at proof & ask for concepts, even from folks w/ completely different beliefs. My coronary heart goes out to your entire Bush household.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) December 1, 2018
The presidential seating preparations are consistent with a longtime custom. At former President Ronald Reagan‘s funeral in 2004 and former President Gerald Ford‘s in 2007, the residing presidents and first women in attendance sat in two rows. Whereas the seating association at Reagan’s service additionally mirrored the order of the administrations, Ford’s didn’t.
It’s also custom for the present president to attend.
Susan Web page, USA Right now‘s Washington bureau chief who’s writing a biography of Barbara Bush, informed PEOPLE that the transfer to welcome Trump is to be anticipated.
“Sure, the fashionable custom is that sitting presidents attend the funerals of previous presidents,” she mentioned.
President Trump tweeted out his respects for Bush within the days following the 41st president’s demise.
“President George H.W. Bush led an extended, profitable and delightful life,” Trump wrote final Saturday. “At any time when I used to be with him I noticed his absolute pleasure for all times and true delight in his household. His accomplishments had been nice from starting to finish. He was a very great man and will likely be missed by all!”
On Monday, the president added, “Trying ahead to being with the Bush Household to pay my respects to President George H.W. Bush.”
President George H.W. Bush led an extended, profitable and delightful life. At any time when I used to be with him I noticed his absolute pleasure for all times and true delight in his household. His accomplishments had been nice from starting to finish. He was a very great man and will likely be missed by all!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 1, 2018
Trying ahead to being with the Bush Household to pay my respects to President George H.W. Bush.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December three, 2018
“By his important authenticity, disarming wit, and unwavering dedication to religion, household, and nation, President Bush impressed generations of his fellow People to public service — to be, in his phrases, ‘a thousand factors of sunshine’ illuminating the greatness, hope, and alternative of America to the world,” the assertion mentioned.