After years of sitting together at official functions, Michelle Obama has formed a friendship with former President George W. Bush. President Barack Obama immediately followed Bush to the White House.
“President Bush and I are forever seatmates because of protocol — that’s how we sit at all the official functions,” said Obama on the Today Show Thursday, USA Today reports. “So he is my partner in crime at every major thing where all the formers gather.”
“I love him to death…he’s a wonderful man. He’s a funny man,” Michelle Obama said of George W. Bush. Theirs is an interesting friendship, because they represent opposing political parties.
As a senator, Barack Obama often stood in political opposition to George W. Bush, who was the sitting president when Obama was in the Senate.
And to many people, the friendship between Michelle and George W. feels a bit strange. But the former first lady sees no obstacles to the friendship. “Party doesn’t separate us…color, gender, those sort of things don’t separate us,” she said.
Barack Obama and George W. Bush never campaigned against each other. Obama ran for the presidency in 2008, when Bush was an outgoing two-term president.
The unlikely friendship has been highlighted before. A moment between Michelle Obama and George W. Bush went viral several weeks ago when he handed her a cough drop at Sen. John McCain’s funeral.
“It was a simple gesture,” she said of the cough drop moment, according to Town and Country.
Moments like these between the two of them have been captured in the past. The two were seen laughing and talking together at a 2015 event celebrating the 50th anniversary of the civil rights march in Selma.
In an interview with People, George W. Bush said of Michelle that “she kind of likes my sense of humor. Anybody who likes my sense of humor, I immediately like.”
The Bushes and Obamas attend many official events and ceremonies together, and all four often seem friendly with each other. Barack Obama and George W. Bush are two of five former presidents who are alive today. Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, and George H.W. Bush complete the list. George H.W. Bush is the oldest of the group, but only by a few months. Jimmy Carter is right behind him. They are both 94.
Michelle Obama is currently making media appearances to promote her new book, Becoming. It will be in stores November 13, according to Rolling Stone.
She says she is not planning on running in the 2020 presidential election.