George W Bush playfully sneaks candy to Michelle Obama during John McCain's memorial service
In a funeral service that was somber and heavy, former President George Bush had a playful exchange with Michelle Obama as he snuck her some candy.
The news that Senator John McCain's family were discontinuing the treatment for his aggressive brain cancer was greeted with equal parts shock and equal parts sadness. It signaled that the 81-year-old's time was coming to an end, and it would only be a day later that he would succumb to the glioblastoma. His funeral service at the Washington National Cathedral then became an occasion of mourning and reflection, and as it turns out, light-heartedness as well courtesy of George W. Bush.
The former president seems to have struck up a camaraderie with his successors Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama after their stint in the Oval Office, and that was on full display at the service. Bush and former First Lady Laura were seated next to the Obamas and as former Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman gave his eulogy, cameras panned to an amusing exchange between Bush and Michelle.
George Bush sneaking Michelle Obama some candy during John McCain's funeral might be the video that saves the Republic pic.twitter.com/GvQscSvO5y— Robert Maguire (@RobertMaguire_) 2 September 2018
After Laura hands him a piece of candy, Bush decides that he wants to offer it to Michelle rather than consume it himself. Unaware that the cameras are focusing on him, the 72-year-old attempts to stealthily pass it, with both Michelle and her husband cracking a broad smile and struggling to contain their laughter. Bush, of course, tries to avoid attention by not looking their way, but can't help but sneak a glance to see whether his scheme has succeeded.
The clip soon went viral on social media, with netizens unanimously hailing it as their favorite moment in an otherwise heavy and somber service. One wrote on Twitter, "George Bush sneaking Michelle Obama some candy during John McCain's funeral might be the video that saves the Republic," while another posted, "The friendship between George Bush and Michelle Obama gives me life. So pure."
While Obama, Bush, and Bill Clinton — three former presidents that were practically McCain's rivals — were in attendance, a noticeable absentee was President Donald Trump, who was not invited to the service. McCain's relationship with the billionaire mogul had grown frosty over the last two years, and his daughter Meghan McCain's eulogy contained some thinly veiled references to Trump.
"We gather here to mourn the passing of American greatness. The real thing, not cheap rhetoric from men who will never come near the sacrifice he gave so willingly," she said. "Not the opportunistic appropriation of those who live lives of comfort and privilege while he suffered and served." Bush took a shot at Trump during his eulogy as well, saying, "Perhaps above all, John detested the abuse of power. He could not abide bigots and swaggering despots."
Meanwhile, Obama ensured he laced his speech with a few humorous jabs at his 2008 presidential race opponent. Referencing the fact that he would beat out McCain to the Oval Office in 2008, as well as Bush beating him out to the Republican nomination in 2000, Obama joked, "What better way to get a last laugh than to make George and I say nice things about him to a national audience?"
The late senator will be laid to rest at the US Naval Academy Cemetery following a private ceremony on Sunday.