First lady Melania Trump flew solo at former first lady Barbara Bush’s funeral last weekend, where she was seated next to former President Obama.
Before the service, Obama leaned over and said something to the first lady. Then something crazy happened: They smiled.
And now people are intrigued. On Twitter, images of the tete-a-tete attracted disbelief that the usually taciturn first lady was expressing a seemingly positive emotion.
“At first I thought there was something wrong with the images I was seeing, but it turns out that Melania Trump was indeed captured smiling,” wrote Stephen Crockett of the Root.
“How many years has it been since Melania has genuinely smiled like this? Once you go Barack, you never go back.” wrote Twitter user @leighindy.
“Today we saw living proof that it is more fun and relaxing to be with Barack Obama at a funeral than it is to be with Donald Trump at a festive social event,” wrote @DaleDiamond6.
Twitter users praised the former president for his class in making Melania Trump feel at ease, since her husband has demonized Obama and his administration. (And Melania herself went on TV to defend then-candidate Trump’s baseless birther conspiracy theorizing.) Several speculated wildly about their exchange. Some even provided dialogue.
Melania: you’re one of the five people I follow on twitter
Obama: you know that upsets him
Melania: LOL yeah pic.twitter.com/I1VclKJESs
— laney (@misslaneym) April 21, 2018
While this was occurring, the president was at Mar-a-Lago golfing. Sitting presidents don’t usually attend the funerals of former first ladies; like Melania Trump, Michelle Obama represented her husband’s administration at the funeral of Nancy Reagan.
Protocol aside, there were reports that the Bush family intimated President Trump was not welcome, even if he wanted to attend. Barbara Bush, whose son Jeb had run against Donald Trump and been subjected to his mockery in the 2016 Republican presidential primary, made her feelings about Trump clear in her final years, calling him a “showman” and saying she didn’t “know how women could vote for someone” like Trump. It was announced the president would stay away to avoid “disruptions.”
His absence enabled another harmonious moment, when four living presidents and four first ladies posed together after the service.
Each president in this photo did things I disagreed with politically. Quite a lot, in fact, for most of them.
And yet I never doubted that every single one of them acted based on core values, including love of country—not, primarily, love of self. pic.twitter.com/N19fV1zPoD
— David Priess (@DavidPriess) April 22, 2018