Let’s Not Politicize the Death of a President
Photo: Evan Vucci/AP
On Friday, November 30th 2018, President George Herbert Walker Bush passed away. His funeral was this morning, with eulogies from historian Jon Meacham, former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, former Senator Alan Simpson, and H.W.’s son President George W. Bush. The beautiful and solemn ceremony took place in the National Cathedral in Washington D.C.
For a couple of days before the funeral, the body of George H.W. Bush lied in state in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.. President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump went to pay their respects to the departed President and took ridiculous backlash from certain media outlets.
Photo: Jack Gruber, USA TODAY
Commentators from CNN started to bash the President: "He’s not one to mend fences too readily," CNN's Jamie Gangel stated. "I think he’s doing this because he feels he has to do it and I’m also assuming [President Trump’s Chief of Staff] General Kelly has had a big hand in it." Grangel continued, "I do know from the Bush family that they are very appreciative and think the White House has just bent over backwards, gone to great lengths, been extraordinarily helpful. That said, I just can’t help but wonder if there was a thought bubble over Donald Trump’s head just now, what he was thinking as he stood there?”
CNN Panelist Jeffrey Engel stated “I have to imagine he was thinking, ‘How much longer do I have to stand here?...I think it's interesting he did it because maybe he could have waited till the National Cathedral and then he saluted," Gangel added. "It was somewhat theatrical, uh, in nature, but it's, I, I can't imagine that this is very comfortable for him. I think it is going to be fascinating to watch the cathedral on Wednesday and how he interacts with these other Presidents and how he sits there during these eulogies."
He also stated that individuals should not give Trump credit for "not kicking dirt on the grave of a person who just passed away."
What is the problem in all of this? We are politicizing a President’s death— these panelists have completely forgotten the purpose of Trump being there to begin with.
President Trump spent too short of a time honoring H.W. in the eyes of the media. But if Trump spends too long honoring the the departed President, the media would slam him by saying he is blocking the lines of other citizens who came to honor Bush. It is a lose lose situation. In other words, everyone will always have something political to say— and any situation can be spun to either side of the political aisle. So how about we stray away from partisanship and inappropriate political talk when it comes to the death of an individual— especially a departed President.
Other reports came the day of the funeral when President Trump did not greet former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, and their wives Rosalynn Carter and Hillary Clinton. Should President Trump have greeted them? Of course! But this is not what the funeral is about. The media needs to stop making everything about President Trump, and focus on the life of an exemplary man— George H.W. Bush.
Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
This is a time where the country needs to come together to celebrate the long and successful life of the statesman. Simply using the death of a person as a bat for slamming President Trump shows a lack of civility and character. The media simply turns any event into a ‘bash Trump’ session, and it can get tiresome for those who simply want to honor a past President without becoming political.
If the funeral itself strayed away from partisanship, why can’t the media?
What is the irony in all of this? Political columns like this need to be written in order to tell people not to be political. It is a never ending cycle of making politics the sole purpose in one’s life.
As senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) stated a couple weeks ago on a Sunday morning show pertaining to political tribalism, “We are not putting politics in its proper place. Politics can’t come first. If politics comes first in your life— something’s wrong with you.” This is exactly correct. The media keeps attacking President Trump ruthlessly because they think they are taking down the source of political division in this country. It’s exactly the opposite— political division did not start with the current President, nor will it end with him.
Attacking the President for actions that should not be reported on is simply contributing to the problem the media thinks they are trying to fix. They are blind to their own delusion.
This issue of tribalism and putting politics in a place where it doesn't belong, as with George H.W. Bush’s funeral, is an epidemic bigger than President Trump himself. If we as a society cannot even admit this simple truth— how can we expect more civility when it comes to reporting a funeral in a non-partisan manner?
Keyden Smith-Herold is the Founder and Editor in Chief of The Daily Analytical (dailyanalytical.com), a brand new publication.