US President Donald Trump and his wife Melania paid their respects to former President George H.W. Bush as they visited the US Capitol in Washington on Monday, where he lies in state ahead of his funeral.
The Trumps made a quick visit to the rotunda, which will stay open to accomodate public mourners until the funeral on Wednesday. They stood in front of the casket with their eyes closed for a few moments, before Trump saluted the casket and the First Lady put her hand over her heart.
Dressed for the sombre occasion, Melania, 48, donned an elegant black coat matched with a pair of knee-high boots.
Trump has previously clashed with the Bush family, whom he has repeatedly criticised, but he praised Bush following his death as a “wonderful man who will be missed by all”.
On Saturday, the president tweeted: “President George H.W. Bush led a long, successful and beautiful life. Whenever I was with him I saw his absolute joy for life and true pride in his family. His accomplishments were great from beginning to end. He was a truly wonderful man and will be missed by all!”
A service was held in the rotunda on Monday afternoon, with members of the military serving as pallbearers. In a moving eulogy, politician Paul Ryan said: “Here lies a great man… no one better harmonised the joy of life and the duty of life.”
Bush, who died on Friday aged 94, will later be buried at his Texas home alongside his wife, Barbara.
According to the BBC, his coffin had earlier left Texas to a 21-gun salute and was carried to Washington on board Air Force One — temporarily renamed Special Air Mission 41 in honour of the late president.
Read more: George H. W. Bush dies aged 94
The 41st president’s death was confirmed in a statement by his son George W. Bush on Friday night, who described his father as a man of “the highest character and the best dad a son or daughter could ask for”.
“Jeb, Neil, Marvin, Doro, and I are saddened to announce that after 94 remarkable years, our dear Dad has died,” the statement read.
“George H. W. Bush was a man of the highest character and the best dad a son or daughter could ask for. The entire Bush family is deeply grateful for 41’s life and love, for the compassion of those who have cared and prayed for Dad, and for the condolences of our friends and fellow citizens.”