George P. Bush says grandfather's funeral an opportunity to put aside political differences
Posted December 4, 2018 8:02 a.m. EST
Updated December 4, 2018 9:45 a.m. EST
(CNN) — A grandson of George H.W. Bush said Tuesday that the late 41st president wanted his state funeral to be an opportunity for the nation to put aside political differences.
"Whether its him or his staff, I know, and my grandmother, they all wanted all current occupants to be a part of this process and to take advantage of this time where we can put politics aside and focus on the greatness of our country and devotion to causes greater than ourselves," Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush told CNN's John Berman and Alisyn Camerota on "New Day."
"There's a time for politics and there's a time for governing, but there's also a time for reflection, and this is a time for reflection for our country to think about the values that make our country great," Bush added.
President Donald Trump and George P. Bush's father, Jeb, engaged in a vitriolic primary rivalry during the 2016 campaign, and Trump has mocked and criticized the legacies of both Presidents Bush. The Washington Post has reported that the Bush family has intentionally planned a state funeral for him that will avoid criticism of Trump despite the long-running animosity between the two families, which would be in contrast to the September memorial for Sen. John McCain, which was marked by implicit references to Trump and his behavior as president.
Bush said Trump and Congress' devotion of time to his grandfather's legacy reflects the late president's commitment to bipartisanship.
"It's important for the country to take this time and reflect on the commonalities that we have rather than the differences," Bush said.
The Post, citing a former administration official, said that the Bush family contacted the White House this past summer to make it clear that the President would be welcome at the funeral and, according to the paper, to "assure him that the focus would be on Bush's life rather than their disagreements."
Bush, who died Friday at the age of 94, will be memorialized on Wednesday at the National Cathedral in Washington. The Post reported that one person close to the funeral planning said the Bush family's decision to be amicable toward the current president was "at least partly pragmatic" because Trump has the final say over important aspects of the funeral, including the use of Air Force One to carry Bush's body between Texas to Washington.
Another person told the Post that Bush "wouldn't want anyone there to feel uncomfortable, including the incumbent president.'"
Former President George W. Bush will deliver a eulogy for his late father at the funeral, as will former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, former US Sen. Alan Simpson and presidential historian and Bush biographer Jon Meacham, none of whom are expected to critique Trump in their statements.