Right-Wing Media Criticize Obama For Following Bush's Example In Skipping Nancy Reagan Funeral

››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

Right-wing media criticized President Obama's decision not to attend the funeral of former first lady Nancy Reagan, even though President Bush declined to attend former first lady Lady Bird Johnson's funeral in 2007.

Michelle Obama To Attend Former First Lady Nancy Reagan's Funeral

The Hill: "Michelle Obama Will Attend Nancy Reagan's Funeral." In a March 7 article, The Hill reported, "First lady Michelle Obama will attend the funeral of Nancy Reagan" and that "President Obama will not attend the funeral":

First lady Michelle Obama will attend the funeral of Nancy Reagan on Friday, a White House official said Monday.

The former first lady will be laid to rest beside her husband during a private ceremony at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif.

President Obama will not attend the funeral. He is scheduled to appear at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, on Friday.

Earlier Monday, the president heaped praise on Reagan, saying she "could not have been more gracious and more charming" to his wife and him when they first entered the White House in 2009. [The Hill, 3/7/16]

Right-Wing Media Attack President Obama's Choice To Not Attend Reagan Funeral, Neglect To Mention Past Presidents Have Not Attended Such Funerals

Fox News National Security Analyst KT McFarland: "Obama Won't Attend #NancyReagan Funeral ... . That's Petty, Petulant & Lowclass."

[Twitter.com, 3/8/16]

Fox's Todd Starnes: "Obama To Skip Nancy Reagan's Funeral So He Can Speak At #SXSW. What A Sad, Sad Man..."

[Twitter.com, 3/8/16]

Fox Contributor Mike Gallagher: "Next Time You Hear Obama Lament The Divisiveness In America, Remember His Snub Of Nancy Reagan's Funeral."

[Twitter.com, 3/8/16]

Daily Caller: "Obama To Skip Nancy Reagan's Funeral, Attend Entertainment Festival Instead." In a March 8 article, The Daily Caller reported, "President Barack Obama will not attend Nancy Reagan's funeral" and that the first lady would be attending instead, but it failed to mention that other presidents have skipped such funerals:

President Barack Obama will not attend Nancy Reagan's funeral this Friday, and will instead be in Austin, Texas for the annual South by Southwest festival.

His wife, Michelle, will be present at the funeral.

[...]

The South by Southwest festival includes film, music, and technology conferences. On Friday, there will be film festival screenings, including for the new Peewee Herman movie, and SXSW comedy.

Obama will deliver a keynote address, urging "the audience to apply their ideas and talents in working with technology for future world issues." [The Daily Caller, 3/8/16]

Wash. Examiner: The White House "Said Nothing About President Obama Attending [The Funeral], Implying That The President Would Not Be Going." In a March 7 article, the Washington Examiner explained that the White House "said Monday night that first lady Michelle Obama will attend Nancy Reagan's funeral," but added that "President Obama kicked up a firestorm of criticism in mid-February for deciding against attending the funeral for late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia." It also failed to mention that other presidents have not attended such funerals:

A White House official said Monday night that First Lady Michelle Obama will attend Nancy Reagan's funeral, but said nothing about President Obama attending, implying that the president would not be going.

[...]

President Obama kicked up a firestorm of criticism in mid-February for deciding against attending the funeral for the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, and sending Vice President Joe Biden in his stead. [Washington Examiner, 3/7/16]

President Bush Skipped Lady Bird Johnson's Funeral

Reuters: President George W. Bush Did Not Attend Funeral For Former First Lady Lady Bird Johnson In 2007. In a July 14, 2007, article detailing the funeral service for former first lady Lady Bird Johnson, Reuters mentioned that "[a]mong the mourners were former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, first lady Laura Bush, and former first ladies Hillary Clinton, Rosalynn Carter, Barbara Bush, and Nancy Reagan," with then-President George W. Bush absent from the list:

In a funeral at a church overlooking her beloved Texas hills, Lady Bird Johnson was remembered on Saturday as the devoted wife of former President Lyndon B. Johnson and a courageous advocate for social causes.

[...]

Among the mourners were former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, first lady Laura Bush and former first ladies Hillary Clinton, Rosalynn Carter, Barbara Bush and Nancy Reagan. [Reuters, 7/14/07]

NBC News: "There's Little Protocol For Honoring A First Lady's Passing." In a March 7 article titled "Nancy Reagan Dead at 94: There's Little Protocol for Honoring a First Lady's Passing," NBC's Jon Schuppe and Polly Defrank explained, "There is no set protocol to mourn" former first ladies, "And first ladies' funerals are generally private affairs, in contrast with the highly scripted state funerals given to former chief executives." Moreover, "President Obama on Monday ordered flags on government and military property flown at half-staff" and "even that honor isn't always provided":

When first ladies pass away, they typically don't get the pomp, ceremony and spectacle that their spouses receive.

There is no set protocol to mourn them. Instead, federal and local governments -- including the sitting president -- decide what's appropriate. And first ladies' funerals are generally private affairs, in contrast with the highly scripted state funerals given to former chief executives.

[...]

President Obama on Monday ordered flags on government and military property flown at half-staff until Nancy Reagan's burial.

But even that honor isn't always provided. It apparently wasn't done for Betty Ford, who died in 2011, according to an NBC News review of presidential proclamations. It was done for Lady Bird Johnson in 2007, but not for Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in 1994 or Pat Nixon in 1993. [NBC News, 3/7/16]

Heavy.com: "Presidents Don't Always Attend First Ladies' Funerals." In a March 8 article, Heavy.com explained that "some conservatives aren't taking the news well" that Obama is not attending the funeral, writing, "Presidents don't always attend a former First Lady's funeral, but current and former First Ladies typically do," adding that President "Obama also didn't attend former First Lady Betty Ford's funeral in 2011":

President Obama has decided not to attend Nancy Reagan's funeral. However, First Lady Michelle Obama will be attending the former First Lady's funeral service.

Some conservatives aren't taking the news well. Obama and Republicans are at odds because Obama has said he will appoint a new Justice while he's still in office. Republicans have vowed to fight that appointment. This is just one of many things that have caused relations between Democrats and Republicans to become even tenser than usual.

[...]

Presidents don't always attend a former First Lady's funeral, but current and former First Ladies typically do. In fact, Obama also didn't attend former First Lady Betty Ford's funeral in 2011. Michelle Obama also attended Ford's funeral, without her husband, according to the LA Times. Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter delivered the eulogy for Ford's funeral and Nancy Reagan and Hillary Clinton also attended. Former President George Bush was also there. [Heavy.com, 3/8/16]

Addicting Info: Presidents Skipping First Lady Funerals "Actually Happens All The Time No Matter Who The President Is." In a March 9 article, Addicting Info lambasted conservatives who took issue with the president's decision not to attend former first lady Nancy Reagan's funeral, explaining, "While Presidents usually attend the funerals of former Presidents, they have historically skipped the funerals of other high ranking officials and First Ladies, often sending the current First Lady to represent them at the service":

This actually happens all the time no matter who the president is, but conservatives are throwing a tantrum because President Obama does it.

On Sunday, former First Lady Nancy Reagan passed away at the age of 94. Tributes have since poured in from across the country, even from President Obama himself.

[...]

While Presidents usually attend the funerals of former Presidents, they have historically skipped the funerals of other high ranking officials and First Ladies, often sending the current First Lady to represent them at the service. Michelle Obama is, in fact, attending Nancy Reagan's funeral.

President Obama will be taking part in an interview in Texas at the South by Southwest Festival, where he is also scheduled to speak about civic engagement and using technology to address the challenges we face in the future. This was planned prior to Reagan's death.

Yet, conservatives see this as a sign of disrespect. The only problem is that he is hardly the first president to skip a funeral for a former First Lady.

For instance, President Clinton did not attend Pat Nixon's funeral in 1993 and President Bush did not attend Lady Bird Johnson's funeral in 2007. President Obama also did not attend Betty Ford's funeral in 2011.

Jimmy Carter didn't attend Mamie Eisenhower's funeral in 1979 and Franklin D. Roosevelt did not attend Lou Henry Hoover's funeral in 1944.

And if conservatives seriously want to refer to Obama as "President Petty," they should know that Ronald Reagan did not attend Bess Truman's funeral in 1982, and keep in mind that she was First Lady when her husband President Harry Truman ushered in the end of World War II by ordering the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 and was the longest lived First Lady in American history. [AddictingInfo.org, 3/9/16]

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