Graceful diplomacy

Here’s what former first lady Laura Bush said when she was asked what advice she’d give Melania Trump

Former first lady Laura Bush. (YouTube / 'CBS This Morning')

Laura Bush apparently has a greater capacity for diplomacy than her husband, the 43rd President of the United States, when discussing the current occupants of the White House. Earlier this year, after attending President Donald Trump’s inauguration, a report surfaced claiming that George W. Bush summed up the new president’s speech with a rather blunt assessment: “That was some weird shit.” (A spokesperson for the former president didn’t deny the report.)

No such choice words came from the former president’s better half during an appearance on CBS This Morning, though, when she was asked a question about what advice she’d give Melania Trump to help shape her time and message as first lady. “Well, I don’t have advice for her, really,” the former first lady deflected, which is a little odd given that she’s embarking on an initiative with the specific mission of advising the spouses of world leaders on how to use their influence to advocate for improved health care and education for women and girls. Maybe she’s being tight-lipped about Melania because the president once labeled her brother-in-law as “low energy” during the 2016 race. Or maybe she’s biting her tongue because of the that time Trump blamed her husband for 9/11. What ever could have been on her mind?

No advice for Melania, but Bush did talk about having paid the first lady a visit at the White House for tea earlier this year. “She very nicely had the White House staff who are permanent  — you know, the butlers and the ushers and the chef, and everyone that I knew — waiting in the diplomatic reception room, so I could say hello to everybody, which was really sweet.” That was the extent of Laura’s remarks on Melania, however, and the conversation quickly pivoted to her adjustment from living life in the White House to returning to a more normal life after her husband’s two terms in office ended.

The conversation touched on a number of other topics, but, as she reminded the CBS This Morning hosts, she was there to talk about the power first ladies have to influence policy. And though she didn’t have specific advice for Melania, the general advice Bush talked about for all first ladies — “Start with what you know” — seems to be something Melania is already heeding. Given her background as a fashion model, she’s sort of been following that advice and dressing well, if not controversially, during official outings.

Watch the full interview with Bush below.

Read the full story at CBS News.


Melania Trump reportedly becoming a quiet force inside the White House

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article is independent of and separate from any views of The New York Times.