Bill Clinton And George W. Bush Remind Us That Friendship Between Parties Is Possible

Bush calls Clinton his "brother with a different mother."

At a divisive time in the country, it's important to remember that friendship between individuals with different political views is possible. 

In fact, current and former politicians consistently put their differences aside and reach across the aisle. We saw it among members of Congress after a recent shooting, and we saw it again on Thursday, as former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush came together for a discussion at the Bush Presidential Center in Dallas.


The event, moderated by David Rubenstein, was part of a graduation ceremony for members of the 2017 Presidential Leadership Scholars Program. Clinton and Bush discussed everything from family to what makes a great president.

The pair quickly joined Barack Obama and Joe Biden, as well as Justin Trudeau and Emmanuel Macron, among our favorite political friendships, as Bush called Clinton his "brother with a different mother."

Clinton explained of their cooperation, per CNN, "When I left office, I told him, I said if I can ever help you, I'll do it. If I can't in good conscience, I won't, but I'll never embarrass you in public ... I said I may have to make some comment that disagrees with some policy of yours, but I will always do it respectfully, and I want you to succeed."

Humility was one of the qualities both men agreed were important in a great president. "If you want to be president, realize it's about the people, not about you," Clinton explained. "You want to be able to say, 'People were better off when I quit.' ... You don't want to say 'God, look at all the people I beat.'"

Bush echoed this sentiment when he praised Clinton for being "humble in victory" against his father, former President George H.W. Bush, in 1992. According to NPR, the younger Bush also shared that he reached out to Clinton for advice in the early days of his presidency.

There were also plenty of playful moments both during and outside of the presidents' discussion, including the above photo of Clinton peeking out between statues of the two Bushes. The image has gone viral with funny comments on Twitter. "Everything's bigger in Texas," wrote Angel Ureña, Clinton's press secretary.

According to People, Bush and Clinton even talked about their grandchildren, jokingly setting up a rivalry when Clinton told an anecdote about his granddaughter singing "Happy Birthday" to her father. 

"Can your granddaughter sing 'Happy Birthday' in Mandarin?" Bush asked. "Mine can." 

Clinton's response? "No, but she can in Spanish."

Many of us, whether we're in politics or not, could learn something from this friendship.

Watch Bush and Clinton's full conversation in the video below:


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