On April 20, former president George W. Bush spoke about his friendship with former first lady Michelle Obama on Today, saying the public’s shock at their amicable relationship “points out how bitter we’ve become” as a nation.
“I’ll never forget after [Arizona senator John] McCain’s funeral, I gave [Michelle Obama] the candy, I think it was Jenna [Bush Hager] who said, ‘Hey Dad, you’re trending,’ and I said, ‘Uh, not sure what that means!’” he recalled. “And it was Michelle Obama and I being friendly at each other.”
The comments about their friendship begin around the six-minute mark of the interview, below, which also touched on other topics, including immigration and the riots at the Capitol on January 6:
“The American people were so surprised that Michelle Obama and I could be friends,” he said, adding, “I think it’s a problem that Americans are so polarized in their thinking that they can’t imagine a George W. Bush and a Michelle Obama being friends.”
Mrs. Obama, too, has spoken about the unexpectedly viral moment; in a 2018 Today appearance, she remembered, “It was a simple gesture. He was getting a cough drop from [his wife] Laura [Bush] and I looked over and I said, ‘Hand me a cough drop’…I will add that they were old cough drops. That’s the funny thing because they were in the little White House box.” She added, “I was like, ‘How long have you had these?’ He said, ‘A long time. We’ve got a lot of these.’”
Has exchanging candy and cough drops been the secret to bipartisanship this whole time? Presidential candidates for 2024, you now know where to invest your dollars.