This is what a classy behavior means.
When she passed away on Tuesday, former first lady Barbara Bush was the matriarch of the most powerful political dynasties known in the country, and one that had deep personal and political dissimilarities with President Donald Trump.
But in the face of the great equalizer of death, the president decided to ignore the political differences.
Right after Bush’s death was announced, a statement was issued that, Trump ordered flags to be flown at half-staff at all federal buildings, military posts, Navy ships and embassies abroad until sunset the day of Bush’s burial.
“On this solemn day we mourn the loss of Barbara Bush, an outstanding and memorable woman of character,” the statement read. “As a wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, military spouse, and former First Lady, Mrs. Bush was an advocate of the American family.”
“Mrs. Bush lived a life that reminds us always to cherish our relationships with friends, family, and all acquaintances. In the spirit of the memory of Mrs. Bush, may we always remember to be kind to one another and to put the care of others first.”
First lady Melania Trump released her own statement on the death of her in the White House, and also mentioned the Bush family — and Barbara Bush’s intrinsic patriotism.
“Our hearts are with the Bush family as we celebrate the life and mourn the loss of Barbara Bush. Throughout her life, she put family and country above all else. Her dedicated service to the American people was matched only by her compassion and love of family. She was a woman of strength and we will always remember her for her most important roles of wife, mother, and First Lady of the United States. My heartfelt condolences and prayers are with the Bush family as we honor her legacy.”
This is the way adults deal with matters like these.
Everyone remembers the battles of 2016, when Donald Trump came into conflict with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, among others, for the Republican nomination. It was a bitter fight, and Barbara Bush supported her son with her usual strength of character.
(Expect the liberal media to make a lot of her 2016 quote about Trump: “I don’t know how women could vote for someone who said what he said about Megyn Kelly.”)
But above politics, Barbara Bush was a prominent figure. The rest of the country applauded along with the crowd at Houston’s NRG Stadium when she and former President George H.W. Bush performed the coin toss before Super Bowl LI in 2017.
Trump’s order isn’t exceptional, but it is rare. According to an NBC report from 2016 on the death of Nancy Reagan, there is no strict protocol for a former first lady’s funeral arrangement, and flags at half-staff are not the rule at all:
“It apparently wasn’t done for Betty Ford, who died in 2011, according to an NBC News review of presidential proclamations. It was done for Lady Bird Johnson in 2007, but not for Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in 1994 or Pat Nixon in 1993. (Onassis and Nixon did get 30-day mourning periods at the White house, though.)”
So Trump wasn’t obliged by either law or custom to go the extra step and order the nation’s flags lowered in honor of a woman well-known as the matriarch of a rival political family. But he expanded the honor anyway.
And as liberals embarrassed themselves once again by a social media storm criticizing a tiny insignificant type in the original White House announcement of the Bush’s death—as documented approvingly by the liberal Huffington Post—the Trump order proved that even in 2018, political differences can be set aside to addressing a rival’s patriotism.