Capitol Hill ceremony to honor Bush offers bipartisan moment

In a deeply divided political climate, Washington witnessed a rare moment of unity on Monday as lawmakers fr...

Posted: Dec 4, 2018 1:05 PM
Updated: Dec 4, 2018 1:05 PM

In a deeply divided political climate, Washington witnessed a rare moment of unity on Monday as lawmakers from both sides of the aisle came together to remember George H.W. Bush.

The Republican former President died on Friday at the age of 94. On Monday, his body was brought to the US Capitol rotunda where Bush will lie in state until Wednesday morning, an honor reserved for government officials and military officers.

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Democrats and Republicans remain locked in a standoff over funding for President Donald Trump's border wall that could trigger a partial government shutdown in the coming days and Washington is still reeling from a divisive midterm campaign season where the leaders of both parties were targets and Trump frequently went on the attack on the campaign trail.

But for at least a few hours, the two parties appeared to put their political differences aside.

As crowds began to gather outside, a ceremony was held inside the rotunda where Capitol Hill's highest-ranking Republican and Democratic lawmakers joined together in paying tribute to the former President.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer stood side-by-side as a wreath was placed alongside the casket. In another image of unity, House Speaker Paul Ryan and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi did the same several minutes later, standing next to one another as a second wreath was placed.

Pelosi, who is vying to become House speaker when Democrats take control of the House of Representatives in the new Congress, stood next to Kevin McCarthy, who will serve as the House Republican leader in the next Congress, as lawmakers filed in at the start of the event and the two could be seen speaking to one another.

Earlier in the day, McConnell and Schumer both gave speeches on the Senate floor praising the former President.

"He embodied the characteristics we admire in a president: integrity, civility, dignity, humility," Schumer said during his speech. The Senate Democratic leader added, "I knew him to be a fine man. A decent man. And even when he opposed your views, you knew he was doing what he thought was best for the United States of America."

A long list of prominent current and former officials gathered inside the rotunda to pay their respects.

Vice President Mike Pence delivered a speech. Prominent former lawmakers, including former Senate Majority Leader Republican Bill Frist, were seen at the Capitol as were sitting Supreme Court justices, including Clarence Thomas, who was nominated to the bench by Bush.

Outside the Capitol, a long line of people waiting to pay their respects to the 41st President began to form early in the evening. Starting at around 7:30 p.m. ET on Monday, members of the public began to be allowed into the rotunda to view the casket.

Joe McGarvey, a 62-year old Democrat, was one of the people who waited in line to pay his respects to what he described as "a man who gave a life of service to the country."

"I'm a Democrat, but as President, he did a lot of good things," McGarvey said during a brief interview. He described Bush as a "very humble, caring person -- you could tell, just how he treated people."

As McGarvey waited, the temperature began to drop. "It's getting a little cold here," he said, "even though I'm standing out here in the cold, I'm glad I did it."

Stephen Keblish and Nate Crossett from Utica, New York said they had driven down to Washington, DC that morning.

Keblish described it as a "once in a lifetime kind of opportunity."

"It's a sort of pilgrimage in a way. There aren't a lot of opportunities for ritual in this day and age especially as a country so I wanted to partake in something like that," he added.

Christine Dube, who lives in Vermont, but travels to DC periodically for work, said she believes Bush was from an era where people did "the right thing and you care about America and that comes first."

"I think maybe people need to start thinking about that a bit more," she said, "following that set of values, not fighting with each other, agreeing to disagree, doing what we're supposed to do, take care of each other ... not be at odds with each other all the time."

"Our country needs to come together," Dube said, adding, "Regardless of what your political views are, I think everybody at heart wants to see our country do well."

Among those also paying respect Monday evening: the President and first lady Melania Trump, who stood in front of Bush's casket in the Rotunda at around 8:30 p.m. ET.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 501652

Reported Deaths: 10024
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34353540
DeSoto32162408
Hinds31977631
Jackson24508383
Rankin22015390
Lee15596235
Madison14597280
Jones13867243
Forrest13461252
Lauderdale11998317
Lowndes11065188
Lamar10522136
Pearl River9547237
Lafayette8557140
Hancock7740127
Washington7443160
Oktibbeha7147133
Monroe6787178
Warren6706176
Pontotoc6677104
Neshoba6642206
Panola6542131
Marshall6476135
Bolivar6323150
Union605794
Pike5824152
Alcorn5676102
Lincoln5439135
George497479
Scott473098
Tippah470381
Prentiss469182
Leflore4663144
Itawamba4640105
Adams4592119
Tate4592111
Copiah448792
Simpson4448116
Yazoo444887
Wayne440072
Covington429094
Sunflower4240105
Marion4232108
Coahoma4168107
Leake408688
Newton381779
Grenada3711108
Stone360664
Tishomingo360092
Attala331789
Jasper330165
Winston314691
Clay308977
Chickasaw301067
Clarke292594
Calhoun279447
Holmes267987
Smith264150
Yalobusha234547
Tallahatchie228251
Greene219449
Walthall218764
Lawrence213140
Perry205956
Amite205256
Webster203046
Noxubee186840
Montgomery179657
Jefferson Davis172243
Carroll169338
Tunica160039
Benton149239
Kemper141941
Choctaw133326
Claiborne132837
Humphreys129638
Franklin120328
Quitman106528
Wilkinson105139
Jefferson94734
Sharkey64220
Issaquena1937
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 820312

Reported Deaths: 15407
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1148731924
Mobile726221339
Madison52362697
Shelby37640350
Baldwin37266552
Tuscaloosa35120612
Montgomery34123740
Lee23540246
Calhoun22236488
Morgan20958378
Etowah19838500
Marshall18381304
Houston17394412
St. Clair16078339
Cullman15468293
Limestone15354199
Elmore15271286
Lauderdale14323295
Talladega13851283
DeKalb12664261
Walker11221370
Blount10207176
Autauga10048148
Jackson9877184
Coffee9211191
Dale8904185
Colbert8877201
Tallapoosa7093198
Escambia6778134
Covington6715183
Chilton6648162
Russell637559
Franklin5969105
Chambers5612142
Marion5010127
Dallas4979200
Pike4796106
Clarke475884
Geneva4575127
Winston4522103
Lawrence4327117
Bibb425386
Barbour357876
Marengo338390
Monroe331664
Randolph329864
Butler326796
Pickens316584
Henry312866
Hale311688
Cherokee302960
Fayette294180
Washington251651
Cleburne247760
Crenshaw245375
Clay243368
Macon234863
Lamar224847
Conecuh186353
Coosa180340
Lowndes175464
Wilcox168939
Bullock151744
Perry138940
Sumter133238
Greene126744
Choctaw88527
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