Donald Trump greeted George W. Bush at the White House guest quarters ahead of his father’s funeral, a meeting described as cordial despite the testy history between the two. The method Trump took to get to the meeting, however, was where the controversy started.
As the Washington Post noted, Trump was roughly 250 yards away from Bush and his wife when they arrived at the Blair House, which is across the street from the White House. Instead of walking the short distance, Trump instead hopped into a limousine and had the eight-car presidential motorcade take him, the report added.
As others have noted, the walk from the White House to the Blair House usually takes just a few minutes and often has symbolic significance. Edward Prince, who served as National Security Council spokesman for Barack Obama, noted that Obama walked Chinese President Xi Jinping back to the Blair House after a state dinner in 2015.
“Presidents, including the last one, have made the walk before,” Price told the Washington Post.
The walkway between the White House and the Blair House had already been cleared of pedestrians, which the report noted is protocol when a dignitary is staying that the guest quarters.
This is not the first time that Donald Trump has been criticized for being driven instead of walking a short distance. At the G-7 Summit in 2017, Trump was with world leaders when they had to walk roughly 700 yards to a group photo. While all of the other world leaders walked, Trump decided to follow behind in a golf cart, the Times of London reported.
Trump’s heading — by motorcade— to Blair House, the presidential guesthouse across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House, to visit with the family of the late President George H.W. Bush. pic.twitter.com/3f1S39NmB2— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) December 4, 2018
“They walked the 700 yards from the traditional G7 group photo, taken at a Greek amphitheatre, to a piazza in the hilltop town, but Mr. Trump stayed behind until he could take a seat in the electric vehicle,” the report noted.
Trump has actually earned some praise for his response to the death of George H.W. Bush, releasing an effusive statement on his passing and making what the Washington Post called a “magnanimous gesture” to have the funeral at the National Cathedral. That stands in contrast to Trump’s demeanor after the death of frequent political opponent John McCain, when the White House released a short statement and flags that had been taken down to half-mast were raised immediately the following day.
George H.W. Bush’s funeral will be held on Wednesday at the National Cathedral, which is a little more than three miles from the White House.