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US presidents club assembles for Bush funeral, Trump on fringes

US presidents club assembles for Bush funeral, Trump on fringes

The United State's most exclusive fraternity, the presidents club, assembled on Wednesday to mourn George H W Bush, putting on public display its uneasy relationship with the current occupant of the Oval Office.

The uncomfortable reunion brought US President Donald Trump together in the same pew with past White House residents who have given him decidedly critical reviews.

The late Bush was the de facto chair of the modern incarnation of the president's club, transcending contentious campaigns and party lines to bring together fractious personalities who share that rarified experience. But the staid group of Oval Office occupants has been disturbed since Donald Trump's election. And since his swearing-in, Trump has spurned most contact with his predecessors and they have snubbed him in return.

The Bushes had made it known to the White House months ago that, despite differences in policy and temperament, the late president wanted Trump to attend the national service.




The ceremony's tributes at times stood as an unspoken counterpoint to Trump's leadership, as historian Jon Meacham eulogised Bush by recounting his life's credo: “Tell the truth, don't blame people, be strong, do your best, try hard, forgive, stay the course.” George W. Bush added of his father: “He could tease and needle, but not out of malice.”

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