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Trump Absent At Barbara Bush’s Funeral

Over a thousand people were present at St Martin’s Episcopal Church at the funeral service of Former US First Lady Barbara Bush in Texas with past presidents, pizzeria owners and historians all in attendance. Mrs Bush was the matriarch of a political dynasty that included two US presidents – her husband George HW Bush and…”
Editor
April 22, 2018 8:35 am

Over a thousand people were present at St Martin’s Episcopal Church at the funeral service of Former US First Lady Barbara Bush in Texas with past presidents, pizzeria owners and historians all in attendance.

Mrs Bush was the matriarch of a political dynasty that included two US presidents – her husband George HW Bush and her son George W Bush.

Mrs Bush, a literacy campaigner, died at her home on Tuesday, aged 92.

The first lady from 1989 to 1993 had been in failing health for some time and had declined further medical treatment.

Her son Jeb Bush, Florida’s ex-governor, drew laughs from the crowd in a eulogy at the church where his parents have worshipped since the 1950s.

The 2016 presidential candidate said he knew what his “role model” mother would say to him if she were there, which included “keep it short” and “don’t get weepy”.

Historian and author Jon Meacham and friend Susan Baker, the wife of former Secretary of State James Baker, also shared stories of Mrs Bush’s sharp tongue, fierce devotion to her family and charming humour.

US President Donald Trump decided against attending the invite-only service, saying in a statement that his absence was “to avoid disruptions due to added security, and out of respect for the Bush Family”.

The US president has had a difficult relationship with the Bushes, most significantly in his run against Jeb Bush for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.

Mrs Bush reportedly described Mr Trump at the time as a “showman” and wondered how women could vote for him.

Current first lady Melania Trump, representing the First family, sat beside former President Barack Obama.

Other high profile attendees included former President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former first lady Michelle Obama.

High-ranking officials from both the elder and younger Bushs’ administrations were also present, including Vice-Presidents Dan Quayle and Dick Cheney.

However, former President Jimmy Carter could not attend as he was overseas, and his wife Rosalynn was recovering from surgery.

Security was tight ahead the funeral service, which started at 11:00 local time (16:00 GMT), with secret service agents standing watch over Mrs Bush’s coffin, and bomb-sniffing dogs checking media equipment.

Following the ceremony, Mrs Bush was buried on the grounds of the George HW Bush Library and Museum at Texas A&M University in College Station, next to her daughter, Robin, who died of leukaemia, aged 3.

Tributes for “America’s grandmother”, as she was dubbed, have poured in from across the globe, with many praising her work in adult literacy.

Mrs Bush, née Pierce, was married to her husband for 73 years. She is survived by five children, 17 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

 

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