President Trump has ordered Air Force One be used to transport the remains of former President George H.W. Bush to Washington, even having seats ripped out of the cabin to accommodate the casket.
It is an extraordinary move considering a past of contention and highly charged political rhetoric amongst the Bush family and the President.
“Air Force One will be taking myself and a group of our people back to Washington,” Trump explained following the G20 Summit. “It will then be reset and it will be sent to Houston to pick up the casket of President Bush and it will be sent back to Washington.”
“And they’re taking apart … The section up front,” he added. “They’re taking all of the seats out … We’re sending the plane, this plane, to Houston. And it picks up the casket.”
CELEBRATING GEORGE H.W. BUSH: Celebrations are underway as the nation honors the late Pres. George H.W. Bush. Air Force One will carry his casket on the final trip to Washington D.C. tomorrow where he will lie in state in the Capitol. @arobach reports. https://t.co/U1A3B4DJvj pic.twitter.com/4vnXqii2Ny
— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) December 3, 2018
President Bush will lie in state at the National Cathedral
A state funeral is being held at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC, and will be attended by the President as well as First Lady Melania Trump.
Trump will designate December 5th as a National Day Of Mourning and has ordered flags lowered to half-staff at all federal buildings for 30 days.
“We will be spending three days of mourning and three days celebrating a really great man’s life,” Trump told reporters.
President George H.W. Bush led a long, successful and beautiful life. Whenever I was with him I saw his absolute joy for life and true pride in his family. His accomplishments were great from beginning to end. He was a truly wonderful man and will be missed by all!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 1, 2018
This “is a special tribute that he deserves very much,” the President declared. “And it’s my honor. And again, he’ll be missed. He’ll be greatly missed. He was a terrific person and terrific man.”
The media will give Trump a thorough lambasting when he takes the more abrasive path in dealing with political adversaries, but he’s been openly gracious since learning of Bush’s passing.
I say ‘openly,’ because he was very much the same after the passing of Senator John McCain, though little had been done in the way of reporting (outside of these pages) some of the things he did to honor him.
Bush the elder had labeled Trump a “blowhard” during the 2016 presidential campaign, then admitted he cast his vote for Hillary.
“I don’t like him. I don’t know much about him, but I know he’s a blowhard,” H.W. said in a book titled, The Last Republicans. “And I’m not too excited about him being a leader.”
The fact is, President Trump might indeed be a bit of a ‘blowhard’ – he certainly puts on a bit of a show when it comes to hammering political opponents – but he is consistently gracious behind closed doors.
Sen. Lindsey Graham on President Trump and John McCain’s strained relationship: “When he says something bad about John, it pisses me off. [Trump] called yesterday after my speech… He said, ‘That was very sad, I just want to let you know that you did right by your friend.’” pic.twitter.com/wfHSh8M6TM
— CNN (@CNN) August 29, 2018
Trump’s statements and actions since the passing of President Bush are a testament to that, and only the media is really surprised by his words and deeds.