Stephen Colbert revealed the reason why praise for George H.W. Bush’s character and integrity sounded like a rebuke of the current president, Donald Trump.
The “Late Show” host described Wednesday’s funeral a “touching tribute to a kind man who had dedicated his entire life to public service,” where speakers praised the late president and World War II veteran as a “gentleman” and a “genuine leader.”
Trump was invited to and attended the services, where the Bush family assured him the focus would be on the late president and would not serve as a public rebuke of the current president, but Colbert said the eulogies still felt a little like reprimands.
“His life code,” said historian and Bush biographer Jon Meacham, “as he said, was, ‘Tell the truth. Don’t blame people. Be strong. Do your best. Try hard. Forgive. Stay the course.’”
Many observers felt as if praising Bush’s character was a mild attack on Trump, who received an icy reception from his predecessors in the front row.
“As soon as you start praising someone’s honesty,” Colbert said, “you’re automatically throwing shade at Donald Trump. I mean, Obama made Trump seem like a bad president just by sitting next to him.”