WASHINGTON DC — Former President George W. Bush and former first lady Michelle Obama shared a sweet moment at Sen. John McCain’s memorial service Saturday.
McCain, who died August 25 at the age of 81, was honored in a memorial service at the Washington National Cathedral, where Democrats and Republicans came together to celebrate his decades of public service.
Tributes from Bush and former President Barack Obama, who eulogized the late Arizona Republican at the senator’s request, were among the highlights, as were daughter Meghan McCain’s tearful remarks, in which she contrasted her father’s legacy with the rhetoric of President Donald Trump, who was not invited to attend the service.
But when former Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut was reminiscing about his longtime friend, the cameras cut to the front row and caught Bush handing something to the former first lady, who softly thanked him.
The clip of the exchange went viral Saturday, garnering hundreds of thousands of retweets and likes and an outpouring of warm comments. Many initially thought Bush handed Michelle Obama a piece of candy, but Bush spokesman Freddy Ford confirmed to CNN on Sunday it was actually a cough drop — a revelation that he also tweeted out.
Bush and Obama are surprisingly close considering their political differences, and they have often been seated next to each other and photographed together at formal events.
A photo in September 2016 of their warm embrace at the opening ceremony for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture also went viral.
In an interview last year with People magazine, Bush credited the former first lady’s appreciation of his sense of humor as a key reason for their friendship.
“She kind of likes my sense of humor. Anybody who likes my sense of humor, I immediately like,” Bush told the magazine. “When I saw her, it was a genuine expression of affection.”