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'Devastated' George W. Bush Is Working on Not 'Breaking Down' During Father's Eulogy

People logo People 12/5/2018 Karen Mizoguchi

George W. Bush is preparing for one of the most emotional speeches in his life.

After his father George H.W. Bush‘s death last Friday, the 43rd president is scheduled to eulogize the 41st president on Wednesday at the Washington National Cathedral. Ahead of the funeral, former first daughters Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Bush revealed that their father has been practicing his heartfelt encomium.

“How can you tell a man as giant as our grandpa was, how much you love him? It’s a tall order… and I think it’s going to be difficult … I think there’s a lot of pressure for him to get it just right,” Jenna said in a sneak peek of her interview with NBC News’ Today show co-host Savannah Guthrie which will air on Wednesday.

RELATED: George H.W. Bush’s Last Words Were to Son George W.: ‘I Love You, Too’

Laura Bush, George W. Bush standing in front of a crowd: George W. and Laura Bush | TING SHEN/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

George W. and Laura Bush | TING SHEN/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock
© TING SHEN/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

“Of course, Barbara and I we never hold our opinions. We’re like, ‘That’s great, but could you add a line like this? Take this out,’ ” the mother of two — who is a Today contributor — added.

“I think he also wants to make sure that he can get through it himself, without– you know, he lost his father and is also devastated, so to be able to get through the eulogy without breaking down is something else that he’s working on,” said Barbara, who rushed to wed husband Craig Coyne in October so her grandfather could be in attendance.

RELATED: George H.W. Bush’s Children and Grandchildren Mourn Their Late Patriarch at U.S. Capitol Ceremony

Bush 41 died last Friday night at age 94. His spokesperson Jim McGrath confirmed the news, writing in a statement, “George Herbert Walker Bush, World War II naval aviator, Texas oil pioneer, and 41st President of the United States of America, died on November 30, 2018. He was 94 and is survived by his five children and their spouses, 17 grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren, and two siblings.”

“He was preceded in death by his wife of 73 years, Barbara; his second child Pauline ‘Robin’ Bush; and his brothers Prescott and William or ‘Bucky’ Bush,” the statement continued.

RELATED: Barbara Pierce Bush Recalls Her Grandfather’s Devotion to Her — and a Stuffed Tiger Named Spikey

On Monday, Bush 43 was visibly emotional while mourning his father during the state funeral at the Capitol Rotunda where the former vice president’s body is lying in state.

Slideshow by photo services

Supporting the eldest Bush sibling, 72, was his wife, former first lady Laura Bush and their twin daughters as well as his brothers Jeb Bush, 65, Neil Bush, 63, Marvin Bush, 62, and sister Dorothy Bush Koch, 59.

The family was joined by Vice President Mike Pence, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

RELATED: Jenna Bush Hager Reflects on the ‘Gift’ of Her Daughters Knowing Their ‘Gampy’ George H.W. Bush

On Tuesday evening, the Bushes returned to the Capitol Rotunda. George, Laura, Jenna and Barbara were once again by their beloved patriarch’s side as they placed a hand on the flag-draped casket.

The 41st president’s body will remain on the Lincoln Catafalque in the Capitol Rotunda through 7 a.m. ET Wednesday, as it will stay open to accommodate public mourners.

Bush’s state funeral will be held at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday at 11 a.m. ET. In a presidential proclamation, Trump declared that Wednesday would be dedicated to Bush’s memory and that flags should be lowered to half-staff in his honor for 30 days.

Jenna and Barbara’s interview with Savannah Guthrie airs on the Today show Wednesday morning.


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