The music 'moved him': George W. Bush's bopping during Dallas memorial explained
Former president inspired to 'dance' during The Battle Hymn of the Republic
Some people judge those who laugh during funerals. But what about those who "dance"?
George W. Bush did just that during Monday's memorial service for the Dallas shooting victims, bopping along as a choir sang The Battle Hymn of the Republic — leaving many wondering exactly what had possessed the former president.
Bush held hands with Michelle Obama and his wife, Laura, while swaying back and forth between the two. As the familiar "Glory, glory, hallelujah" chorus hit, he clasped their hands and awkwardly raised them up and down. Both gave him questionable looks while he was doing it.
Almost all of the other dignitaries Bush shared the stage with looked solemn and stood still during the hymn — though Laura Bush and Michelle and Barack Obama all cracked a smile.
"I would encourage any and all cynics looking for something to criticize to find a different subject than a memorial for fallen peace officers, and to watch more than just the clip of President Bush swaying to the music at the end of the ceremony," he told CBC News in an email on Tuesday.
"I hope they can open their hearts to the history and text of The Battle Hymn of the Republic; the finale song that moved him so … was selected to conclude the memorial because it is a joyful, spiritual, triumphant song."
Bush, who lives in Dallas, spoke earlier in the ceremony. He talked about bridging divisions after the shootings in Dallas, where five police officers were killed by a sniper.
"At times it feels like the forces pulling us apart are stronger than the forces binding us together," Bush said. "Argument turns too easily into animosity."
While Ford's statement has since helped clarify Bush's vigorous swaying, many on social media have spent time speculating the former president's actions.
And for the love of God, why is George Bush trying to dance to a hymn.—@ShanWynn
I'm not really a drug person, but I want whatever made George Bush think a memorial service was a camp singalong <a href="https://t.co/gNd1VG5Wtp">https://t.co/gNd1VG5Wtp</a>—@rmgebhardt
Dancing on stage at a funeral George Bush is by far my favorite George Bush.—@davonmagwood
Some compared it to laughing at a funeral.
You might be one of those people who can laugh at a funeral, but George Bush can dance at one. <a href="https://t.co/T0R39LYgKb">https://t.co/T0R39LYgKb</a>—@reazonozaer
LAURA: George, be on your best behavior.<br>GEORGE: Of course I will!<br>LAURA: No dancing.<br>GEORGE: ... <a href="https://t.co/qNnyTWbe6i">pic.twitter.com/qNnyTWbe6i</a>—@ParkerMolloy
But several found the moves inappropriate, considering the circumstances.
George Dubya lost his damn mind. This is at a FUNERAL <a href="https://t.co/nQC2mA2F30">https://t.co/nQC2mA2F30</a>—@RadRhat
Something is seriously wrong w/ <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GeorgeWBush?src=hash">#GeorgeWBush</a>. Totally disrespectful. Poor <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FLOTUS?src=hash">#FLOTUS</a>. She doesn't know what to do. <a href="https://t.co/Z9BFdEBs1H">https://t.co/Z9BFdEBs1H</a>—@bobbordone
George Bush looking a little too giddy and sway-y there. Not a fun event, W.—@SteveFriess
Others thought they had it all figured out.
Among the several theories floating around since the ceremony is the thought that Bush might have had to use the bathroom.
George Bush came to dance. Simple as that.—@KimDavidSmith
Several pointed to Bush's age, as he turned 70 last week.
George W. Bush is officially going senile. <a href="https://t.co/HZvULtiK0o">https://t.co/HZvULtiK0o</a>—@PrisonPlanet