First Lady Melania Trump attended former First Lady Barbara Bush’s funeral yesterday in Houston, and in a respectful and compassionate gesture, she brought two White House staff members who were fond of Mrs. Bush.
Former White House head maitre d’ George Hainey and current White House butler Buddy Carter accompanied Mrs. Trump as her invited guests. They had grown close with Mrs. Bush, who passed away Tuesday night at the age 92, during her years spent in the White House.
“She knew they were very close to the Bush family and wanted them to be able to pay their respects,” Melania Trump spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham told PEOPLE.
According to multiple outlets, White House staffers were particularly fond of George H.W. and Barbara Bush. On Wednesday, Kate Andersen Brower, author of The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House, revealed at CNN that “the residence staff at the White House loved working for the Bushes” and many staffers told her “they were their favorite family to serve.”
It was my honor to travel to Houston to give my respects to Barbara Bush and the remarkable life she led as a mother, wife, and fearless First Lady. My sincerest thoughts and prayers continue to be with George H.W., and the entire Bush family.
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) April 21, 2018
President Trump did not attend the funeral, which is not unprecedented; when former First Lady Nancy Reagan passed away in 2016, then First Lady Michelle Obama attended while President Barack Obama did not. Trump spent Saturday instead at his resort Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, playing golf and tweeting.
At Mrs. Bush’s funeral, there were four former presidents, two Democrats and two Republicans: George H.W. Bush and son George W. Bush (with wife and former First Lady Laura Bush) were joined by former Presidents Obama and Bill Clinton, along with former First Ladies Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama.
The Bushes, Clintons, Obamas and Melania Trump gathered for a photo at the funeral of former first lady Barbara Bush.
— NBC News (@NBCNews) April 22, 2018
The presence of politicians across the aisle was a lovely show of bipartisanship, a breath of fresh air in today’s political environment, and a fitting tribute to the legacy and power of former First Lady Barbara Bush.
The views expressed here are those of the author and do not represent those of any other individual or entity. Follow Sarah on Twitter: @sarahmquinlan.