Only former president Jimmy Carter looked relaxed.
Only former president Jimmy Carter looked relaxed.

Awkward front row at Bush’s funeral

George H.W. Bush's funeral was already a solemn occasion, but in the front row of presidents and first ladies past and present, you could cut the tension with a knife.

The awkwardness was instantly evident in the expressions of the Obamas, Clintons and Trumps as they waited for the former president's funeral service to begin.

Barack and Michelle Obama had been smiling and chatting easily with Bill and Hillary Clinton when Donald and Melania Trump joined them and the room froze.

Mr Obama took the lead in shaking hands with the Trumps, before a grim-faced Mrs Obama followed suit.





It is well known that there is no love lost between the current and previous first couple, with Mrs Obama recently writing in her book Becoming that she would "never forgive" Mr Trump for putting her family's safety at risk by stoking the "birther" conspiracy theory that her husband was born outside the United States.

Mr Trump fired back that he would not forgive Mr Obama "for what he did to our US military."

Mr Clinton made a half-hearted effort to join in the greetings but Mrs Clinton, Mr Trump's former presidential rival and bitter enemy, stared fixedly ahead.

Twitter was quick to pick up on the cringe-factor of the forced interaction.

"Yikes," tweeted White House correspondent Katie Rogers, sharing a photo of the front row.

Mr Trump, who is known for his difficulty in responding appropriately on serious occasions, this morning announced this was a "day of celebration for a great man".

The awkwardness of the warring front row was painfully evident.
The awkwardness of the warring front row was painfully evident.

The grand ceremonies in Washington on Wednesday came after three days of remembrance in the nation's capital, with Mr Bush lying in state as dignitaries and ordinary citizens paid their respects.

His hearse had been driven in a motorcade to the Washington National Cathedral ceremony, slowing in front of the White House. Its route was lined with people, bundled in winter hats and taking photos.

The Republican president and father to George W. Bush has been remembered this week for overseeing the post-Cold War world transition and leading a successful Gulf War, only to lose re-election in a generational shift to Democrat Mr Clinton in 1992.

- With wires