Bob Dole, who lost a fierce battle for the 1988 Republican presidential nomination to George H.W. Bush, honored his former opponent at the Capitol Rotunda.
In an emotional scene on Tuesday, the former Senate Majority Leader, 95, was helped out of his wheelchair to salute the 41st president, who laid in state for the second day. With assistance from an aide, Dole was lifted into standing position and steadied at the casket’s side before paying his respects to Bush with a salute to his fellow World War II veteran.
“Just incredible. Thank you Senator Dole,” Bush’s son Jeb tweeted.
Bush died last Friday night at age 94. His spokesperson Jim McGrath confirmed the news, writing in a statement, “George Herbert Walker Bush, World War II naval aviator, Texas oil pioneer, and 41st President of the United States of America, died on November 30, 2018. He was 94 and is survived by his five children and their spouses, 17 grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren, and two siblings.”
“He was preceded in death by his wife of 73 years, Barbara; his second child Pauline ‘Robin’ Bush; and his brothers Prescott and William or ‘Bucky’ Bush,” the statement continued.
Following Bush’s death, Dole reflected on their decades-long friendship. “I believe there are certain qualities that veterans have, and when Bush was president, I think about three-fourths of Congress were veterans and we would stick together and work together across the aisle,” Dole told CNN. “And President Bush was a bipartisan president. So we got quite a lot done.”
Bush is the first president to lie in state since the death of Gerald Ford in 2006. Including Bush, only 32 people have ever lain in state in the Rotunda, including Sen. John McCain earlier this year.
On Monday, the former commander-in-chief’s children, including sons George W. Bush, 72, Jeb Bush, 65, Neil Bush, 63, and Marvin Bush, 62, as well as daughter Dorothy Bush Koch, 59, attended the state funeral. Vice President Mike Pence, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell shared their condolences in their speeches. In addition, all sitting U.S. Supreme Court justices and members of Trump’s cabinet were in attendance.
Bush’s body will remain on the Lincoln Catafalque in the Capitol Rotunda through 7 a.m. ET Wednesday, as it will stay open to accommodate public mourners.
Bush’s state funeral will be held at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday at 11 a.m. ET. In a presidential proclamation, Trump declared that Wednesday would be dedicated to Bush’s memory and that flags should be lowered to half-staff in his honor for 30 days.