The funeral services for the late President George H.W. Bush were held today and — as is the custom with the passing of a former commander in chief — all of the living former presidents as well as the current occupant of the Oval Office were invited to attend.
Given the naked animosity Donald Trump has shown towards his predecessors and the understandable disgust they feel towards him, there was bound to be some kind of awkward encounter. There was, and it was caught on video.
Trump and First Lady Melania were the last of the presidential couples to arrive at the funeral. They took their seats in the front row with the others, with Melania sitting down next to former President Obama and Trump taking the seat closest to the aisle. The Trumps and Obamas briefly shook hands, with the latter two graciously showing civility out of respect for the ceremony.
Melania Trump then shook hands with former President Clinton and former Secretary of State Clinton nodded at her politely. The Clintons and Donald Trump himself refused to interact or so much as acknowledge each other. It was an incredibly awkward moment which showed that even state funerals, usually solemn, nonpartisan events can be negatively affected by our current leader.
After greeting Melania, Hillary Clinton turned and looked straight ahead, visibly seething, understandably displeased to be sharing the company of a man who continues to vilify her to distract from his own failings as president and who has called for throwing her in prison.
Former President Jimmy Carter appeared to give a wave towards Melania Trump but didn’t seem to want to greet President Trump directly. Soon after he, he gave Donald Trump a long look in the way one might look at a vermin that has skittered, unwelcomed into your house.
One row behind, arch-ghoul conservative and former Vice President Dick Cheney gave the Trumps several beady looks that were mostly unreadable beyond the fact that there was clearly no approval in his eyes. The fact that Cheney, one of the most disastrous and destructive statesmen in American history, dislikes the leader of his own party is an unsettling sign of just how abnormal our political climate is right now.
All in all, the seating of the Trumps was a distinctly uncomfortable moment that perfectly crystallized what a pariah Donald Trump has become. When the day for his funeral finally comes, it would frankly be shocking to see any other presidents in attendance.
President Trump and first lady Melania Trump have arrived at former president George H.W. Bush's funeral.
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) December 5, 2018