Trumps meet George W. and Laura Bush face-to-face to express condolences

Handshakes from Donald and kisses from Melania: The Trumps visit with the Bushes to honor the 41st president – burying years of tension between the families

  • Trumps got together with Bushes on Tuesday in Washington as State Funeral ceremonies for George H.W. Bush continue
  • Trump shook George W. Bush's hand, and then Laura Bush's; Melania Trump opted for cheek-kisses with both, before a visit that lasted 23 minutes
  • First ladies met at the White House for tea in 2017, reconnecting Tuesday; Laura Bush called Melania a 'wonderful representative for the United States' last year 
  • Trumps took a brief motorcade in 40-degree weather despite Blair House's location a few hundreds feet from the White House. 
  • George W. told one author Trump 'doesn't know what it means to be president'
  • He muttered after Trump's inauguration ceremony: 'That was some weird s**t' 
  • Trump blasted his brother Jeb as 'low-energy' rival throughout 2015 and 2016
  • Mocked the late 41st president's 'Thousand Points of Light' charity in July 
  • Bushes invited Trump to Wednesday's memorial service but he won't speak

By David Martosko, U.s. Political Editor For Dailymail.com

Published: 17:04 EST, 4 December 2018 | Updated: 17:36 EST, 4 December 2018

Donald Trump and Melania Trump visited with members of the Bush family on Tuesday at Blair House, the U.S. president's official guest house – an intra-party walking-on-eggshells moment that appeared cordial despite holding the potential for a diplomatic disaster.

Former first lady Laura Bush went to the White House Tuesday morning for a tour of Christmas decorations from Melania Trump, posing members of the presidential mansion's household staff.

She and former President George W. Bush, whom the current Oval Office occupant once called the 'worst president ever,' greeted the Trumps hours later and disappeared inside Blair House.

President Trump shook both Bushes' hands.  Melania opted for kisses on both of their cheeks. 

Trump waved to cameras when he and the first lady emerged 23 minutes later.

Despite Blair House's location about 200 feet from the White House's front gates on Pennsylvania Avenue, the Trumps opted for a brief motorcade ride to the other side of the building on a 40-degree afternoon. 

Former President George W. Bush kissed first lady Melania Trump on the cheek as the two presidential couples met outside Blair House in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday
Former President George W. Bush kissed first lady Melania Trump on the cheek as the two presidential couples met outside Blair House in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday

Former President George W. Bush kissed first lady Melania Trump on the cheek as the two presidential couples met outside Blair House in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday

The two presidents met cordially during the late President George H.W. Bush's week of State Funeral ceremonies, despite longstanding bad blood between Trump and the Bush family
The two presidents met cordially during the late President George H.W. Bush's week of State Funeral ceremonies, despite longstanding bad blood between Trump and the Bush family

The two presidents met cordially during the late President George H.W. Bush's week of State Funeral ceremonies, despite longstanding bad blood between Trump and the Bush family

Former first lady Laura Bush was all smiles as she greeted first lady Melania Bush before the four went inside the home that serves as the president's guest quarters
Former first lady Laura Bush was all smiles as she greeted first lady Melania Bush before the four went inside the home that serves as the president's guest quarters

Former first lady Laura Bush was all smiles as she greeted first lady Melania Bush before the four went inside the home that serves as the president's guest quarters

The two first ladies met at the White House for tea in 2017, and reconnected on Tuesday; Laura Bush called Melania a 'wonderful representative for the United States' last year
The two first ladies met at the White House for tea in 2017, and reconnected on Tuesday; Laura Bush called Melania a 'wonderful representative for the United States' last year

The two first ladies met at the White House for tea in 2017, and reconnected on Tuesday; Laura Bush called Melania a 'wonderful representative for the United States' last year

President George H.W. Bush died Friday at his home in Houston, Texas; his remains arrived in Washington on Monday and members of his family, including George W. Bush and Laura Bush, are in town to participate in four days of State Funeral proceedings
President George H.W. Bush died Friday at his home in Houston, Texas; his remains arrived in Washington on Monday and members of his family, including George W. Bush and Laura Bush, are in town to participate in four days of State Funeral proceedings

President George H.W. Bush died Friday at his home in Houston, Texas; his remains arrived in Washington on Monday and members of his family, including George W. Bush and Laura Bush, are in town to participate in four days of State Funeral proceedings

Trump tweeted in the morning that he was '[l]ooking forward to being with the wonderful Bush family at Blair House today.'

'The former First Lady will be coming over to the White House this morning to be given a tour of the Christmas decorations by Melania. The elegance & precision of the last two days have been remarkable!' 

Trump invited the Bushes to stay at Blair House after George H.W. Bush's death on Friday. Ceremonies marking the first day of his extended state funeral gripped the nation Monday.

Laura Bush posted a group photo after her White House social call, saying it was '[a] sweet visit during this somber week.'

'Thanks to Mrs. Trump for inviting our family to the White House to see the Christmas decorations and our old friends, the residence staff.' 

President Bush seemed to enjoy meeting Melania Trump, a pleasant distraction in a gut-wrenching week
President Bush seemed to enjoy meeting Melania Trump, a pleasant distraction in a gut-wrenching week

President Bush seemed to enjoy meeting Melania Trump, a pleasant distraction in a gut-wrenching week

All smiles: the two first couples met on the sidewalk outside Blair House
All smiles: the two first couples met on the sidewalk outside Blair House

All smiles: the two first couples met on the sidewalk outside Blair House

After you! George W. Bush motioned for Donald Trump to walk ahead of him up the Blair House steps, but the men walked side-by-side moments later 
After you! George W. Bush motioned for Donald Trump to walk ahead of him up the Blair House steps, but the men walked side-by-side moments later 

After you! George W. Bush motioned for Donald Trump to walk ahead of him up the Blair House steps, but the men walked side-by-side moments later 

CNN noted that Mrs. Trump and Mrs. Bush have gotten together before at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. 'I've talked to Melania,' the former first lady said last year. 'I've been back and had tea with her.'

Mrs. Bush said at the time that she thought Melania had 'done a lovely job' and called her a 'wonderful representative for the United States.' 

But a long-running family feud between their husbands began in earnest during the 2016 Republican primary season when Donald Trump branded Jeb Bush, George W.'s younger brother and a political rival, as 'low-energy Jeb.'

That characterization stuck as Trump made mincemeat out of 17 rivals including Jeb, who the Republican Party's establishment wing saw as the third rung in his family's dynastic ladder.

In response, Jeb Bush called Trump 'the chaos candidate.' But 'Saturday Night Live' showed Trump won the culture war, with Darrell Hammond in character referring to Jeb as 'Jebra.'

Former first lady Laura Bush (center, in green and pearls), posted a thank-you message on Instagram, calling her White House social call '[a] sweet visit during this somber week'
Former first lady Laura Bush (center, in green and pearls), posted a thank-you message on Instagram, calling her White House social call '[a] sweet visit during this somber week'

Former first lady Laura Bush (center, in green and pearls), posted a thank-you message on Instagram, calling her White House social call '[a] sweet visit during this somber week'

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump will pay social calls on George W. and Laura Bush as tensions simmer beneath the surface of a dignified State Funeral week
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump will pay social calls on George W. and Laura Bush as tensions simmer beneath the surface of a dignified State Funeral week

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump will pay social calls on George W. and Laura Bush as tensions simmer beneath the surface of a dignified State Funeral week

Trump has called the younger George Bush the 'worst president ever,' making the Washington-centered memorials for the late President George H.W. Bush awkward
Trump has called the younger George Bush the 'worst president ever,' making the Washington-centered memorials for the late President George H.W. Bush awkward

Trump has called the younger George Bush the 'worst president ever,' making the Washington-centered memorials for the late President George H.W. Bush awkward

Trump tweeted Tuesday that he was 'looking forward to' a meeting that most political observers expect to be strained and stiff
Trump tweeted Tuesday that he was 'looking forward to' a meeting that most political observers expect to be strained and stiff

Trump tweeted Tuesday that he was 'looking forward to' a meeting that most political observers expect to be strained and stiff

Following Trump's inauguration ceremony in January 2017, George W. Bush was heard muttering: 'That was some weird s**t.'

Since then the current president has blasted him numerous times for incurring the financial debts and physical casualties associated with the Gulf War.  

George W. Bush said in an interview Mark Updegrove's 2017 book 'The Last Republicans' that he wasn't a Trump fan.

'Wow,' he said. 'This guy doesn't know what it means to be president.' 

The elder Bush told the same author during the 2016 campaign: 'I don’t know much about him, but I know he’s a blowhard. And I’m not too excited about him being a leader.'

He later told Updegrove that he voted for Hillary Clinton. 

Blair House, located across the street from the White House, is a Pennsylvania Avenue address that frequently houses visiting heads of state and other VIP presidential guests
Blair House, located across the street from the White House, is a Pennsylvania Avenue address that frequently houses visiting heads of state and other VIP presidential guests

Blair House, located across the street from the White House, is a Pennsylvania Avenue address that frequently houses visiting heads of state and other VIP presidential guests

President Barack Obama, right, joined former President George H. W. Bush, left, to present the 5,000th 'Daily Point of Light Award' in 2013, an award given to recognize American volunteerism
President Barack Obama, right, joined former President George H. W. Bush, left, to present the 5,000th 'Daily Point of Light Award' in 2013, an award given to recognize American volunteerism

President Barack Obama, right, joined former President George H. W. Bush, left, to present the 5,000th 'Daily Point of Light Award' in 2013, an award given to recognize American volunteerism

Trump mocked the Thousand Points of Light Foundation during a July 5, 2018 rally in Montana, saying he 'never quite got' the point of the slogan behind it
Trump mocked the Thousand Points of Light Foundation during a July 5, 2018 rally in Montana, saying he 'never quite got' the point of the slogan behind it

Trump mocked the Thousand Points of Light Foundation during a July 5, 2018 rally in Montana, saying he 'never quite got' the point of the slogan behind it

And he made a foray into smashmouth politics in July that was unusually caustic, even for him, bashing President George H.W. Bush's signature volunteerism charity program.

'You know all of the rhetoric you see? "Thousand points of light" – what the hell was that, by the way?' he said during a political rally in Montana. '"Thousand points of light" – what does that mean?'

'I know one thing: "Make America Great Again," we understand,' Trump continued then. '"Putting America first" we understand. "Thousand points of light"? I never quite got that one.'

'What the hell is that? Has anyone ever figured that one out? It was put out by a Republican, wasn’t it?'

Trump's elevation at the 2016 Republican National Convention was, politically, a bare-knuckle repudiation of the GOP establishment that the Bushes represent.

President Trump steamrolled through a field of 17 Republican primary contenders in 2016 that included Jeb Bush (2nd right), a former Florida governor and son of the late president George H.W. Bush who was thought to be a shoo-in before the larger-than-life TV star came along
President Trump steamrolled through a field of 17 Republican primary contenders in 2016 that included Jeb Bush (2nd right), a former Florida governor and son of the late president George H.W. Bush who was thought to be a shoo-in before the larger-than-life TV star came along

President Trump steamrolled through a field of 17 Republican primary contenders in 2016 that included Jeb Bush (2nd right), a former Florida governor and son of the late president George H.W. Bush who was thought to be a shoo-in before the larger-than-life TV star came along

First lady Melania Trump will show off her East Wing Christmas decorations on Tuesday to Laura Bush, who held her position from 2001 to 2009
First lady Melania Trump will show off her East Wing Christmas decorations on Tuesday to Laura Bush, who held her position from 2001 to 2009

First lady Melania Trump will show off her East Wing Christmas decorations on Tuesday to Laura Bush, who held her position from 2001 to 2009

It's unclear how long this week's Trump-Bush detente might last. The president paid his respects to the late elder Bush on Monday evening, spending less than two minutes in the Capitol Rotunda in a pro-forma moment that was expected but seemed timed to limit the spotlight.

The truce has included Trump offering the use of his Air Force One plane to transport the late president's remains back and forth between Houston and Washington. 

And the Bushes avoided an incident by inviting Trump to Wednesday's memorial service – although he won't speak.

Sitting presidents have delivered eulogies at the last three presidential funerals. 

Trump was snubbed at the last State Funeral, pointedly not invited to attend when Republican Sen. John McCain was laid to rest three months ago.

The Bushes told the White House over the summer that whenever the 41st president passed away, Trump would be welcome.

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