Visitors Stream Through Capitol Rotunda As George H.W. Bush Lies In State


An American flag flies at half staff in front of the U.S. Capitol building.
Cameron Pollack, NPR

An American flag flies at half staff in front of the U.S. Capitol building.

The U.S. Capitol is host to a hushed stream of mourners Tuesday, paying their respects to former President George H.W. Bush, whose flag-draped casket, attended by a military honor guard, lies in the center of the building's rotunda.

The country's 41st president was eulogized Monday night by Republican Congressional leaders and Vice President Pence, who said Bush "never lost his love of adventure and he never failed to answer the call to serve his country."

President Trump and first lady Melania Trump stopped by later Monday evening to pay their tributes. Trump tweeted Tuesday that he will meet with "the wonderful Bush family" at Blair House, where they are staying, across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House. He also said that former first lady Laura Bush will be given a tour of the White House Christmas decorations by Melania Trump.

Trump has had a frosty relationship with the Bush family. He called his 2016 GOP primary opponent Jeb Bush "low energy," criticized the leadership of President George W. Bush, and recently mocked the elder Bush's "thousand points of light" volunteer program.

Bush will lie in state until Wednesday morning, when his casket will be transported to the Washington National Cathedral for a state funeral.

Those giving eulogies at the service there include former President Bush, former Senator Alan Simpson, former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and Bush biographer Jon Meacham.

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