“The chill in her manner,” Nancy later wrote, “matched the chill in the room.”
These meetings aren’t always filled with tension; they sometimes set the stage for long-lasting relationships. Michelle Obama and Laura Bush were able to work together later in part because of those first interactions.
The transition from the Bushes to the Obamas is considered one of the smoothest in modern history, though Laura had to put aside some ill will during that visit. As she wrote in her memoir, “It is easy to criticize a sitting president when you are not the one in the Oval Office, when you are not responsible for the decisions that must be made…I thought of that when I heard the daily rants from the campaign trail. It got so that even the weather seemed to be George’s fault.”
At a 2016 event at the George W. Bush Presidential Center, Michelle Obama praised her predecessor. “As you all know, I deeply admire and respect Laura. And I think that it’s important to collaborate with people you admire and respect, regardless of party. That’s what makes a democracy work, truly.” Last April, the two former first ladies participated in a joint event to raise money for Covid- 19 response. A collaboration like this is hard to imagine between Melania Trump and any other first lady.