Bush Family Planned 43’s State Funeral to Steer Clear of Overt Trump Criticism

George W. Bush eulogizes his father.
George W. Bush eulogizes his father.

The family of former president George H.W. Bush has planned a state funeral that will steer clear of the kind of anti-Trump sentiment evident at the recent funeral of Sen. John McCain, according to people familiar with the funeral planning.

The Bush family contacted the White House this past summer to say that President Trump would be welcome at the funeral, scheduled Wednesday at Washington National Cathedral, and to assure him that the focus would be on Bush’s life rather than their disagreements, one former administration official said.

The truce with Trump allows the Bush family, and the nation, to honor the legacy of a president who guided the United States through the 1991 Persian Gulf War and the breakup of the Soviet Union without becoming mired in today’s toxic politics. Trump in turn has been effusive in his praise of Bush since his death Friday, and paid respects Monday night at the U.S. Capitol, where the 41st president is lying in state.

But the detente also comes after Trump’s long history of insulting and taunting the Bush family — calling his 2016 primary opponent “low-energy” Jeb Bush, saying the 9/11 attacks were partly due to President George W. Bush’s failure to keep the nation safe, and mocking George H.W. Bush’s signature “thousand points of light” volunteerism program. And it comes as Trump has fully taken control of the Republican Party, leading a bare-knuckle rejection of the traditional GOP establishment that the Bush family represented and helped build.

One person close to the funeral planning said the Bush family’s overtures to Trump were at least partly pragmatic. Trump has the final say over important funeral details, this person said, including providing Air Force One to carry the former president’s remains from Texas to Washington on Monday for the funeral and back to Texas on Thursday for another service and burial.

While Trump will not deliver a eulogy, he will be seated in the front row alongside former presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. Bush’s son, former president George W. Bush, will deliver a eulogy.

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SOURCE: Kevin Sullivan and Josh Dawsey
The Washington Post