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Why George W. Bush gave Michelle Obama candy during his father’s funeral

Quartz logo Quartz 5/12/2018 Aisha Hassan
a group of people standing in front of a crowd: U.S. President George W. Bush reaches across in front of U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump to greet former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama, sitting in the front row with former President Bill Clinton, former first lady Hillary Clinton and former first lady Rosalynn Carter as he arrives at the state funeral for his father former U.S. President George H.W. Bush at the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, U.S., December 5, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque - RC1565D4EE00 © Provided by Atlantic Media, Inc. U.S. President George W. Bush reaches across in front of U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump to greet former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama, sitting in the front row with former President Bill Clinton, former first lady Hillary Clinton and former first lady Rosalynn Carter as he arrives at the state funeral for his father former U.S. President George H.W. Bush at the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, U.S., December 5, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque - RC1565D4EE00

The first funeral service for 41st US president, George H.W. Bush, took place today (Dec. 5) at Washington National Cathedral in Washington, DC. Donald and Melania Trump, as well as all four living former US presidents and their first ladies, were in attendance (paywall).

When George W. Bush, the 43rd US president and late Bush’s son, went up to greet these former US leaders, he slipped something into Michelle Obama’s hand that made them both smile. It was an emotional day for the Bush family, but Bush still found time to give out some candy or a mint.

As some people pointed out on Twitter, this exchange was not one-of-a-kind. During senator John McCain’s funeral in September, Bush, seated next to Obama, handed her a cough drop from his wife and former first lady, Laura Bush. The video of the exchange went viral, and many people praised the touching and bipartisan gesture.

Bush told People magazine that he and Obama shared a sense of humor, and when he handed her that cough drop at McCain’s funeral, “it was a genuine expression of affection.” Obama also told NBC Today that she and Bush have a special connection because they are often seated together. “He’s my partner in crime at every major thing where all the ‘formers’ gather. So we’re together all the time,” she said. The exchange at McCain’s funeral later became an inside joke between the two.

Even though Bush and Obama were not seated together during today’s ceremonies for the late Bush, the 43rd US president still managed to keep up the tradition—with grace and even humor—at his own father’s funeral.

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