Some will anyway, but when even Low Energy Jeb! doesn’t think it’s fair to use the situation as a cudgel against Donald Trump, maybe it’s really not.
Let’s face it: Jeb! and Trump are not and will never be friends. I don’t think Jeb! will ever forgive Trump for belittling him during the 2016 campaign. And I don’t think Trump cares a bit. He was exposing the fact that Jeb! wasn’t really equal to the moment, and wouldn’t have the intestinal fortitude to deal with what awaited first post-Obama president in Washington.
In reality, Jeb! would probably have faced little resistance because he’s not a rock-the-boat kind of guy. Trump knew that, and made the case effectively that such a low-energy presidency was not what we needed after the mistakes of the Obama age. Trump was right. Trump won. BushWorld offered him no support even after he won the nomination and became the only alternative to Hillary.
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They can all screw themselves as far as Trump is concerned.
So no, they’re not friends, and if the Bushes were so inclined, this would be the perfect opportunity to drop the implication that Trump isn’t speaking because they hate him and consider him unworthy of the task. That’s what John McCain would have done, after all.
Come to think of it, that’s what John McCain did.
But a) the Bush family is neither vindictive nor thin-skinned; and b) the Trump-humiliation narrative the media desperately want to present to you is simply not true:
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President Trump isn’t delivering the eulogy for President George H.W. Bush at Wednesday’s state funeral because another president will do the honor, his son, said former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
“What people want to talk about is, ‘Well, why isn’t the president giving the eulogy?’ It’s because we have a unique circumstance here—my brother was president,” Mr. Bush said Tuesday at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council’s annual meeting, referring to the 43rd president of the U.S., George W. Bush.
“I’m sorry,” he added to laughter.
He joked that their mother, who died in April, would be looking down, “about ready to slap George if he goes beyond 12 minutes.”
Mr. Bush praised Mr. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump for their graciousness in preparations for Wednesday’s state funeral for his father, who passed away Friday.
When Jeb! says, “I’m sorry,” he seems to be referring to reporters’ desire to have him offer an explanation they can report as “Trump p’owned!”
Now it might have been possible to have Trump speak in addition to W. When Ronald Reagan died, both Bushes gave eulogies. George W. was president at the time and gave a stirring tribute to the 40th president. George H.W.’s eulogy was more low-key, but in many ways was more emotional and personal because he had been so much closer to Reagan.
So you could have the incumbent president speak in addition to a former president who was uniquely close to the one being eulogized. The Reagan funeral offers precedent for that.
But just because it was done that way in one instance doesn’t mean it’s a big deal when another presidential funeral is approached differently. George W. Bush is particularly good in situations like this, and it would be hard for Trump to share the stage with a man who had not only served as president but was also paying tribute to his own father.
We don’t know what kinds of discussions took place behind the scenes to lead to the current arrangement either. It may very well be that Trump left it up to the Bush family whether he would speak or not, and they thought under the circumstances it was more appropriate to just have one of their own do it.
Normally when Trump feels disrespected, he lets you know that in some way. He fires off an indignant tweet or takes some off-handed dig at the offender. The opposite party can scarcely miss it.
In this case, Team Trump and Team Bush seem – if not entirely comfortable with each other – at least engaged in a peace that seems to be holding pretty nicely. When even Jeb! is praising Trump for his graciousness – and knocking down media narratives aimed at diminishing him – there simply doesn’t appear to be the tension the media desperately want to tell you about.
Nor should there be. This week is about respectfully remembering the life of a man who would have wanted nothing to do with any such nonsense. The Bush/Trump relationship may not be the world’s greatest, but kudos to all involved for not letting that taint the moment as America says goodbye to President Bush.