Wednesday morning, all the living former presidents and first ladies gathered at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC, for the funeral of former president George H.W. Bush.
President Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive at the Washington National Cathedral for the state funeral of former President George H.W. Bush— CNN (@CNN) December 5, 2018
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Follow live updates: https://t.co/5rlRUMXz9h pic.twitter.com/36HuMLGbpy
Donald Trump was invited, despite the many attacks he had previously launched on George H.W. Bush and other members of his family. Aaron Blake, political reporter at The Washington Post, summarized why in no uncertain terms:
The Trumps are seated next to:— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) December 5, 2018
1) The president Trump said was illegitimate (Obama)
2) The president he said assaulted women (Clinton)
3) The first lady/SoS he said should be in jail (Hillary)
4) The president he said was the second-worst, behind Obama (Carter) pic.twitter.com/J63WVhs7HU
Understandably, this led to some awkward moments.
This is not awkward at all. pic.twitter.com/JhHBUVjKIE— Jonathan Ellis (@jonathanellis) December 5, 2018
1. Such as, the entire front row transitioning suddenly from pleasant chatter to dead silence.
The Obamas and Clintons share a quick laugh inside the National Cathedral. Trumps have not been seated yet. pic.twitter.com/oHgPe5FXW1— Monica Alba (@albamonica) December 5, 2018
At Wednesday’s funeral, Donald and Melania Trump were seated in the first pew of cathedral next to Melania Trump, Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, and Jimmy Carter.
People immediately noticed that the minute the Trumps approached, all conversation and laughter between the Obamas, Clintons, and Carters suddenly ceased, prompting Fox News anchor Chris Wallace to comment, “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.”
“You had seen a lot of chatty talk…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,” added Wallace.
Before the Trumps arrived vs. after the Trumps arrived pic.twitter.com/kqurEyDutl— Brian Koerber (@bkurbs) December 5, 2018
2. The Clintons’ refusal to greet the Trumps.
Though the Obama’s stiffly greeted Trump when he took his seat in the pew, the Clintons—sitting on the other side of the Obamas—stared straight ahead, refusing to look in his direction.
I wish I could commit to anything as hard as Hillary Clinton commits herself to not making eye contact with Donald Trump pic.twitter.com/69gZNaZyx8— Rob Flaherty (@Rob_Flaherty) December 5, 2018
Donald Trump has not spoken to Barack and Michelle Obama nor to Bill and Hillary Clinton since his 2017 inauguration. He has since lobbed countless unfounded accusations at both families, who have returned the favor in kind.
In September Obama noted the “crazy stuff’ coming out of the White House, while last year George W. Bush said that “bigotry seems emboldened” under Trump, and that the nation “seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication.”
3. Though some alleged that Michelle Obama‘s side-eye belied her true feelings towards the president.
A, good.— Benjamin Dreyer (@BCDreyer) December 5, 2018
B, Michelle's tight-lipped "get bent" smile is delightful. https://t.co/FN2uHwDMSb
Michelle is all of us pic.twitter.com/2FE86X6qRx— Corinne (@corinnegilliard) December 5, 2018
Michelle's side eye was hysterical— Denise CK (@Deniseck) December 5, 2018
Gotta love Michelle’s subtle shade 😂 pic.twitter.com/IJpqGv2IVm— MountainMomma (@KarenBoston) December 5, 2018
4. Trump refusing to read the Apostle’s Creed printed in the program:
This is your "Christian" evangelical president. pic.twitter.com/u0478FoSyR— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) December 5, 2018
Many were baffled by Donald and Melania not reciting the Apostle’s Creed or singing hymns like the other leaders around them. The president’s choice to abstain from the service is strange, given that he earned 80 percent of the evangelical vote in the 2016 election and boasts public support from popular Christian leaders such as James Dobson, Richard Land, Jerry Falwell Jr., and many others.
The differences between Trump and his predecessors are evident in ways big and small. 39, 42 and 44 are singing along to the hymn, but 45's lips are not moving.— Philip Rucker (@PhilipRucker) December 5, 2018
On the other hand, George W. Bush greeted all of the presidents and first ladies when he arrived to his father’s funeral.
He also passed a piece of candy to Michelle Obama, mirroring the time he snuck her a cough drop at John McCain’s funeral in September.
The candy pass between Michelle Obama and George W. Bush, mirroring the one that warmed our hearts during the funeral of John McCain. pic.twitter.com/TDnunfnL4E— Yule Brenna 🎄 (@brennawilliams) December 5, 2018
Some on Twitter noted Trump’s dissatisfied expression throughout the service.
looking like a kid who only gets his Nintendo Switch back if he sits still the entire ceremony pic.twitter.com/xh2Pr6IYdM— jordan (@JordanUhl) December 5, 2018
Bush's funeral seating is more stressful than a Love & Hip Hop reunion pic.twitter.com/7ETnyFLvXh— Sylvia Obell (@SylviaObell) December 5, 2018
…While others were trying to remind us that his “toned down” behavior is just…normal behavior.
Dec 3 & Dec 4 pic.twitter.com/Km7IAxp2wR— Elise Foley (@elisefoley) December 4, 2018
The president is being congratulated for not ruining a funeral https://t.co/uEov0sfURd— Ike Barinholtz (@ikebarinholtz) December 4, 2018
I think we should just be impressed that he’s not tweeting during the funeral. https://t.co/Wqbk8ncTcU— Molly Jong-Fast (@MollyJongFast) December 5, 2018