President Donald Trump and wife Melania Trump visited Capitol Hill on Monday night to pay their respects to late President George H. W. Bush, whose body is lying in state.
The private and unannounced visit to the casket laid in the Capitol Rotunda lasted two minutes during which the President and the First Lady didn’t speak as they bowed their heads and paid tribute. Before leaving, Trump saluted and First Lady Melania put her hand over her heart.
The Hill writes that the visit came well after bipartisan congressional leaders held a ceremony in the Rotunda for the 41st president, which was attended by the late president’s son, former President George W. Bush, the 41st vice president Dan Quayle, as well as many of the elder Bush’s Cabinet members and many other dignitaries.
President Trump and his wife didn’t attend that ceremony but will attend the late president’s funeral service due to take place at National Cathedral on Wednesday.
Other people have come to pay their respects to Bush, but some were temporarily prevented by the Trumps’ visit when the doors to the Rotunda were closed. Trump and his wife walked into the Rotunda from the Senate side, led by Senator John Barrasso and some Senate staffers.
Despite previous friction with the Bush family, President Trump issued a formal message to Congress in which he said his predecessor led a life “that exemplified what is truly great about” the United States and its people.
“Fearless, courageous, adventurous, and unyielding, through the highs and lows of the twentieth century and into the next millennium, President Bush served his Nation, creating an example that will inspire generations for decades to come,” Trump wrote.
Bush died on Friday at the age of 94 and is to be buried in his home state of Texas, alongside his wife Barbara, who also died recently.