Former president George W. Bush discussed his affection for former first lady Michelle Obama in a new interview, giving his sense of humor most of the credit for their close relationship.
“She king of likes my sense of humor. Anybody who likes my sense of humor, I immediately like,” Bush told People Magazine.
Their closeness might seem unusual considering the fact that they come from two different administrations with widely different points of view, backgrounds, generations, and political leanings.
However, the former president, who is on a book tour to promote his new art book and exhibit ‘Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors, said that he feels a real fondness for Mrs. Obama.
The 70 year old Bush mentioned that he was regularly seated beside Mrs. Obama at official events such as Nancy Reagan’s memorial service, an interfaith memorial service for Texas police officers, and the September 2016 dedication ceremony in Washington D.C. for the opening of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.
“I can’t remember where else I’ve sat next to her, but I probably have a few wise cracks and she seemed to like it okay,” said Bush. “I needle her a little bit and around her, I’m fairly lighthearted. [The Obamas] are around serious people all the time and we just took to each other.”
When asked about the moment that the two had at the Smithsonian which went viral, Bush said “When I saw her, it was a genuine expression of affection.”
The Bushes are also open to working with the Obamas on projects. Of particular interest, and a common denominator, is work with veterans and military families, which was a focus of Obama’s through her Joining Forces initiative where she worked with Dr. Jill Biden. Bush has spent most of his post presidency working with causes benefiting wounded warriors.
“It’s going to take them a while to find their footing and figure out how they’re going to do what they want to do,” he said about the Obamas and their life after the White House. “But if there’s a way to be symbiotic, we’ll do so.”
“I think they’re interested in, also, doing things with our troops of course now in their afterlife, as I call it,” Laura Bush added.