George W. Bush Talks About His Friendship With Michelle Obama

Although they come from opposite ends of the political spectrum, the friendship between former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Michelle Obama is the stuff of legend for political junkies. A photo of them hugging and looking at one another admiringly in 2016 went viral, and the camera also managed to catch Bush giving Michelle cough drops at a funeral. Even in 2009, when Michelle's husband, former President Barack Obama, was inaugurated for his first term in office, the incoming First Lady and the outgoing president were happily sitting next to one another seemingly enjoying an animated and friendly conversation (via Insider).

The pair also shared a reunion in 2021 when masked-up Michelle and Bush spent some time catching up as Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president during a socially distanced inauguration (via Insider). But does their relationship go beyond the few simple moments captured by a camera lens at special events? Here's what Bush had to say about it. 

George W. Bush explains how he and Michelle Obama became friends

During a virtual April 2021 appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live," George W. Bush told Kimmel that no, he does not have Michelle Obama's phone number, nor does she have his, so they can't just give each other a call or send off a text any time day or night (via Youtube). However, he did explain how they became buddies.

"Here's the thing, I go to a lot of funerals and so does she," Bush said. "And because of protocol, she always stuck next to me. And I get a little antsy during the long-winded eulogies, so I start cracking a few jokes — funeral jokes — and she seems to think they're funny, so I'm delighted."

Bush also explained to Kimmel that Barack Obama doesn't have the same kind of relationship with his wife, Laura Bush. "He doesn't sit next to her at funerals," Bush deadpanned when Kimmel asked him about Obama and Laura.

Michelle Obama's take on her funeral relationship with George W. Bush

During an interview with "The Today Show" in 2018, Michelle Obama was asked about her friendship with George W. Bush and how their cough drop camaraderie came to be at late Senator John McCain's funeral.

"President Bush and I, we are forever seatmates because of protocol, and that's how we sit at all the official functions," Michelle said."He's my partner in crime at every major thing where all the 'formers' gather. So we're together all the time. I love him to death. He's a wonderful man, he's a funny man."

As the story goes, while they were seated next to one another at McCain's funeral, Michelle saw her husband's predecessor giving a cough drop to Laura Bush. "It was a simple gesture," she told Today. "I looked over and I said, 'Hand me a cough drop.'" She then noticed the box had a White House logo on them adding, "I will add, they were old cough drops. I said, 'How long have you had these things?' He said, 'A long time. We've got a lot of these.'" How you can not be obsessed with this adorable and unlikely friendship?