Hundreds of people, including four former presidents and Donald Trump‘s wife and First Lady Melania Trump, attended former First Lady Barbara Bush‘s funeral on Saturday.
The wife of former President George H.W. Bush died on Tuesday at age 92. She was honored at a funeral service at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston.
Melania Trump attended the funeral on her husband’s behalf. The president, who frequently mocked fellow Republican presidential candidate and the Bushes’ son Jeb Bush during his 2016 election campaign, and who Barbara Bush had in TV interviews implied is a misogynist, did not attend but watched the service at the White House via livestream. His office had said this week that the U.S. leader wanted to avoid disrupting the funeral with increased security.
At the service, Melania Trump sat in the front pew of the church next to former President Barack Obama, who was seated next to wife and former First Lady Michelle Obama. To her left was former President Bill Clinton, who also sat next to wife, former First Lady and former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who lost the 2016 election to now-President Trump. Melania Trump and former President Obama, who her husband has criticized for years, were pictured smiling and chatting. Photos of them went viral on social media.
It is not unusual for sitting presidents to skip funerals of former first ladies; Then-President Obama didn’t attend the funerals of Republican first ladies Nancy Reagan and Betty Ford, while former President George W. Bush did not attend memorial services for Democratic first lady Lady Bird Johnson.
“Today, my thoughts and prayers are with the entire Bush family,” President Trump tweeted that morning. “In memory of First Lady Barbara Bush, there is a remembrance display located at her portrait in the Center Hall of the White House.”
Barbara Bush’s son and Former President George W. Bush was photographed pushing 93-year-old dad and former President George H.W. Bush in a wheelchair past Melania Trump, the Obamas and the Clintons. The elder Bush wore a pair of socks decorated with a book pattern to honor his wife of 73 years and her commitment to family literacy, for which she raised over $110 million over the course of over 30 years, his spokesperson said.
Many of the female attendees wore strands of pearls, Barbara Bush’s signature accessory.
Jeb Bush gave a eulogy at the funeral, which was attended by an estimated 1,500 people. George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush‘s twin daughters Laura Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush, who is named after her first lady grandmother, read Biblical passages at the funeral.
Other attendees included former U.S. vice presidents Dan Quayle and Dick Cheney and members of the families of late U.S. presidents Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, Lyndon B. Johnson and John F. Kennedy.
Former President Jimmy Carter and wife and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter were unable to attend; their spokesperson said he would be on a private trip while she is recovering from surgery.
After the funeral, Barbara Bush will be buried on the grounds of the George H.W. Bush Library and Museum at Texas A&M University, next to her daughter Robin, who died at age 3 of leukemia.