President Trump opened up his press conference Wednesday with a tribute to the late former first lady Barbara Bush.
He called her a ‘wonderful, wonderful’ person and a ‘titan of American life,’ but couldn’t resist making a crack at her 73-year marriage to former President George H.W. Bush, who the 92-year-old first lady left behind.
‘Melania and I send our prayers to Barbara”s husband of 73 years,’ Trump said. ‘I’ll never beat that record,’ the 71-year-old president added, flashing a smile.
Cameras focused on Melania Trump, the current president’s wife of 13 years, found her face expressionless.
‘She was a tireless champion for literacy, she was a fierce advocate for the American family and she was a woman of proud patriotism and profound faith,’ Trump also said. ‘Our hearts are saddened by her passing but our spirits are lifted by the memories of her goodness and her face.’
‘She was a good person,’ the president added.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also expressed his ‘heartfelt condolences’ to the Bush family during the Wednesday evening joint press conference at Mar-a-Lago.
‘I’ll never beat that record!’ President Trump cracked at a press conference at Mar-a-Lago on Wednesday as he talked about the long marriage of Barbara Bush and George H.W. Bush. Barbara Bush passed away at age 92 on Tuesday after 73 years of marriage
First lady Barbara Bush passed away on Tuesday. President Trump opened a press conference Wednesday, standing alongside Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, with paying tribute to the late first lady, whose son was a political rival in 2016
OH, DONALD: First lady Melania Trump’s expression was captured by the cameras in the room right after President Trump cracked a joke about not being able to ‘beat that record’ of a 73-year-long marriage
Earlier Wednesday, the first lady’s spokeswoman confirmed that Melania Trump will travel to Texas this weekend to attend the private funeral services for the former first lady.
CNN was first to report Melania Trump’s travel plans.
‘Mrs. Trump intends to pay her respects to Barbara Bush and the entire family at the funeral on Saturday,’ Mrs. Trump’s Communications Director Stephanie Grisham told DailyMail.com.
The New York Times reported that the Clintons and the Obamas would be attending the services as well.
Reporters will not be allowed to attend Bush’s private funeral service alongside the current first lady her spokeswoman also confirmed.
‘The event will not be pooled as this is about paying tribute to Mrs. Bush,’ Grisham said.
Trump is following in the footsteps of her predecessors, most recently first lady Michelle Obama, who attended the funeral services for former first lady Nancy Reagan in March 2016.
Hillary Clinton, in her position as first lady in 1994, attended the services held for the late Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
President Obama did not attend Reagan’s funeral, as he was already scheduled to attend a Democratic Party fundraiser in Austin held in conjunction with the South by Southwest festival.
The late Barbara Bush’s (left) funeral will be attended by first lady Melania Trump (right) her spokeswoman said on Wednesday
But President Bill Clinton eulogized Kennedy, calling her a ‘remarkable woman whose life will forever glow in the lives of her fellow Americans,’ according to the New York Times’ account.
‘God gave her very great gifts and imposed upon her great burdens,’ Clinton also said. ‘She bore them all with dignity and grace and uncommon common sense.’
The White House has yet to say whether President Trump will join the first lady, nor have spokespeople returned requests for comment regarding whether additional figures from the Trump administration plan to attend.
The funeral will take place at St. Martin’s Church in Houston, where Barbara Bush was a longtime member.
On Friday, the public can pay their respects to Bush at the church from noon until midnight.
In an interview Wednesday, former first lady Laura Bush hinted that first lady Melania Trump had tried to bury the hatchet between the two families by inviting her to tea at the White House
And then Saturday there will be a private service with approximately 1,500 guests, including Melania Trump.
The dynamic between the Bushes and the Trumps – despite being members of the same political party – is an awkward one, as President Trump is widely credited with killing former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s 2016 campaign, labeling the late Barbara Bush’s son ‘low energy.’
During the primaries, in a rare interview, Barbara Bush told CBS she didn’t know how ‘women can vote for someone’ like Trump, pointing out comments he had made about then-Fox News Channel anchor Megyn Kelly.
In an interview on Fox Business Network on Wednesday morning, former first lady Laura Bush suggested that Melania Trump had made overtures to try and bury the hatchet between the two families.
‘She invited me to tea at the White House,’ Laura Bush said. ‘She’s a beautiful woman, and very very lovely.’
‘And I think she’ll, I think she will do really very well,’ Laura Bush said of Melania Trump’s handling of the first lady’s duties.