Michelle Obama went on Today Thursday morning to promote International Day of the Girl and announce the launch of the Obama Foundation’s Global Girls Alliance to empower girls through education. Still, despite all the girl power on display, she couldn’t avoid fielding questions about her relationship with someone who was once the most powerful man on the planet.
Barack? Nope — though the former first lady did credit their successful marriage to having separate bathrooms. Hosts Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie couldn’t resist asking Obama about her friendship with a different ex-POTUS: George W. Bush, who also happens to be the father of Today correspondent Jenna Bush Hager.
The two were most recently spotted at the funeral service for Sen. John McCain, where footage of Bush passing Obama a cough drop went viral.
“I didn’t realize at the time that anybody noticed what we were doing… He is my partner in crime at every major thing where all the formers gather… I love him to death.” @MichelleObama talks about George W. Bush handing her a cough drop (an old one at that!) at McCain's funeral pic.twitter.com/hS9fV0DHjB
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) October 11, 2018
The former FLOTUS confirmed that she and Bush are buds in real life — at least on the White House circuit.
“President Bush and I, we are forever seatmates,” she shared. “Because of protocol, that’s how we sit at all the official functions. So he is my partner in crime at every major thing where all the formers gather. So we’re together all the time, and I love him to death. He’s a wonderful man; he’s a funny man.
But he’s not above getting a little ribbing. Obama revealed that she asked Bush to hand her a cough drop from his wife Laura’s purse, not realizing she wasn’t getting fresh goods.
“They were old cough drops,” she laughed about the “simple gesture.” “That’s the funny thing, because they were in the little White House box — the Altoids — and I was like, ‘how long have you had these?’ And he said, ‘a long time; we’ve got a lot of these.'”
Obama agreed that the cough-drop moment went viral because people are “hungry” for signs of civility and friendship across party lines.
“Party doesn’t separate us,” she said. “Color, gender — those kinds of things don’t separate us. It’s the messages we send. And if we’re the adults and the leaders in the room, and we’re not showing that level of decency, we cannot expect our children to do the same.”
But some are finding her bond with Bush problematic given his presidential record and recent support of Brett Kavanaugh amid allegations of sexual assault.
Oh yes, bush giving her a cough drop makes up for stumping for Kavanaugh 🙄 decency means nothing if it’s used to prop up injustice.
— ghost 👻 🅱️homsky (@behr_bones) October 11, 2018
He's a war criminal but okay
— 👻phantasmagoric gravy👻 (@amandatnt03) October 11, 2018
haha lol cough drops George W. Bush personally whipped votes for Kavanaugh’s nomination
— Jessie Singer (@jessiesingernyc) October 11, 2018
Bush might be a war criminal, imperialist that wages war against the working class and poor, but he have Michelle Obama a cough drop so he's cool.
— meet me in the bathroom (@sicktransitw) October 11, 2018
Others are calling her a “class act” and taking comfort in their friendship.
I think it’s nice that Michelle Obama is friends with George W Bush but I understand that is not a popular opinion here on how dare you dot com
— Ben Dreyfuss (@bendreyfuss) October 11, 2018
And to think, it all started with an expired Altoid.
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:
- Melania Trump thinks she’s ‘the most bullied person’ in the world — and Twitter isn’t very sympathetic
- Former first daughter Barbara Bush gets married in Maine after a 5-week engagement
- Chelsea Clinton tweets ‘Please leave Judge Kavanaugh’s daughters alone’ after controversial cartoon