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Melania Trump Sits Next to Barack Obama at Barbara Bush’s Funeral

Emma Stefansky

The late former First Lady Barbara Bush’s funeral at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston on Saturday was attended by “thousands” of reported guests, including familiar faces of White Houses past and present. Former president Barack Obama and his wife Michelle were seated in the front row, as was current first lady Melania Trump, who is there representing the Trump family. The current president opted not to attend, "to avoid disruptions due to added security, and out of respect for the Bush Family.” On the other end of the row were Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Chelsea Clinton was also in attendance.

Melania was spotted flashing a rare smile in public, sharing a moment of lightness with former president Obama.

Barbara Bush cultivated strong relationships with White House staff when she lived there, as while family members and guests were treated to a reception Saturday morning before the service began, some former White House staffers and Secret Service members who were close to the family filed into the church. According to an aide, Melania brought two members of the White House residence staff as her guests.

To celebrate his wife’s love of books and literacy advocacy, George H.W. Bush reportedly wearing his “book socks.”

The Saturday funeral is an invitation-only service, but on Friday the church held a public viewing, and George H.W. Bush made a last-minute decision to greet guests paying their respects.

At the funeral, officiated by Rev. Russell Levenson Jr. and the Rev. Dr. Peter Cheney, Jeb Bush will deliver a eulogy along with Barbara Bush’s longtime friend Susan Baker and historian Jon Meacham who wrote a 2015 biography of Bush’s husband. According to The Washington Post, “The mood inside the church was celebratory rather than sad—full of hugs and kisses—akin to a reunion of old friends.”

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