White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the president and first lady Melania Trump will attend the state funeral, adding that arrangements were being made in Washington, D.C. The funeral will be held at the National Cathedral.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Bush’s body will lie in state at the Capitol next week following a bicameral arrival ceremony Monday evening, The Hill newspaper reported. The public will be able to pay their respects until Wednesday morning.
Bush, who died Friday, will be the first former president to lie in state since Gerald Ford in 2006.
Trump did not attend the funeral of Bush’s wife, former first lady Barbara Bush after she died on April 17, sending Melania Trump instead. The relationship between Trump and the Bushes — particularly between sons, former President George W. Bush and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush — has been acrimonious.
Trump, who is currently attending the G20 Summit with other world leaders in Argentina, appeared to put those feelings aside with gracious comments along with the announcement of a proclamation and day of mourning.
“He never believed that government — even when under his own leadership — could be the source of our Nation’s strength or its greatness,” Trump said in the proclamation released Saturday. “America, he rightly told us, is illuminated by ‘a thousand points of light,’ ‘ethnic, religious, social, business, labor union, neighborhood, regional and other organizations, all of them varied, voluntary and unique’ in which Americans serve Americans to build and maintain the greatest Nation on the face of the Earth.
“President Bush recognized that these communities of people are the true source of America’s strength and vitality,” he added.
Vice President Mike Pence said in a statement: “Karen and I were saddened to learn of the passing of President George H.W. Bush and we send our deepest sympathies to the entire Bush family. President Bush loved his family, loved this country and his legacy will be a lifetime of service to the United States of America.”
President Bill Clinton, the man who defeated Bush in the 1992 election, called the 41st president of the United States “an honorable, gracious and decent man” in a Washington Post op-ed Saturday, recalling a note Bush left him when he entered the White House.
“I wish you great happiness here,” Bush wrote to Clinton. “I never felt the loneliness some Presidents have described. There will be very tough times, made even more difficult by criticism you may not think is fair. I’m not a very good one to give advice; but just don’t let the critics discourage you or push you off course.”
Clinton said that Bush had “a natural humanity, always hoping with all his heart that others’ journeys would include some of the joy that his family, his service and his adventures gave him.”
“Few Americans have been — or will ever be — able to match President Bush’s record of service to the United States and the joy he took every day from it; from his military service in World War II, to his work in Congress, the United Nations, China, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Vice Presidency and the Presidency, where he worked to move the post-Cold War world toward greater unity, peace, and freedom,” the Clintons stated.
Dan Quayle, Bush’s vice president, said in a Wall Street Journal op-ed Saturday that although they were together just one term, “… it could hardly have been more collegial, uncomplicated or free of tension. We were friends who quickly became close friends. We remained so through all the years since, right up until his passing.”