Former President George W. Bush was moved by the "joyful, spiritual and triumphant" "Battle Hymn of the Republic," says his spokesman

By Lindsay Kimble
July 13, 2016 11:15 AM

Former President George W. Bush is getting flak for appearing too exuberant during the interfaith memorial service for the five Dallas police officers killed by sniper fire.

On Tuesday, Bush, holding hands with First Lady Michelle Obama, swayed and swung his arms in a somewhat cheerful manner during a performance of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center.

The 70-year-old sang along while standing in between FLOTUS and his wife, Laura Bush.

After social media users criticized the moment, Bush spokesman Freddy Ford released a statement on Twitter on Wednesday, saying the 43rd president was simply “moved” by the “joyful, spiritual and triumphant” song.

In response to the moment, captured on video, many expressed that Bush should have sung along more tastefully.

“What an awkward time to be dancing like that,” one user wrote on a CNN video of the memorial. “I feel like Michelle’s face is like ‘what is this guy doing?’ ”

Added another user, “Are you kidding me? He’s an idiot. This is not the time or place to be dancing with a big smile on his face! What an embarrassment.”

On Twitter, @BeardedGenius charged, “Someone tell George W Bush he’s at a funeral.”

Some came to the former President’s defense, however, like a Facebook user who wrote on CNN’s clip, “Can you imagine being in a room with 2k or more officers and hearing that magnificent song and realizing for one moment…just for one moment…we all were getting along and singing praise? I would be swaying and rejoicing myself. God Bless this beautiful country and God’s speed to those fallen officers in this funeral service.”

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Bush now calls Dallas home, and helped President Barack Obama pay tribute to the fallen law enforcement officers during the service.

Praising Lorne Ahrens, Michael Krol, Michael Smith, Brent Thompson and Patrick Zamarripa, Bush said, “With their deaths, we have lost so much. We are grief-stricken, heartbroken and forever grateful.”

Obama also spoke at the service, as well as Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings. Vice President Joe Biden and wife Dr. Jill Biden, as well as Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, were all at the service.