Michelle Obama Defends Her Friendship with George W. Bush: ‘Our Values Are the Same’

Former first lady Michelle Obama and former president George W. Bush may have an unlikely friendship on the surface, but they aren’t so different, it seems. Political differences aside, Obama shared that they have some big things in common — as we all do, it turns out.

michelle obama george w bush
Laura Bush, former President George W. Bush, Michelle Obama, and former President Barack Obama | David Hume Kennerly via Bank of America/Getty Images

Obama and Bush have something pretty universal in common

Many critics have wondered how two people with such different political views could have become so close. Obama, during an interview with the Today show’s Jenna Bush Hager, shared how they have a mutual respect and shared values.

She explained: “I had the opportunity to sit by your father at funerals, the highs and the lows, and we shared stories about our kids and about our parents.”

Obama continued: “Our values are the same. We disagree on policy, but we don’t disagree on humanity. We don’t disagree about love and compassion. I think that’s true for all of us. It’s just that we get lost in our fear of what’s different.”

Obama weighs in on Ellen DeGeneres’ friendship with Bush

Hager brought up another unlikely friendship: George W. Bush and Ellen DeGeneres, who faced backlash when they sat together at an Oct. 2019 Dallas Cowboys game.

Hager noted: “You’re friends with both Ellen and my dad, and they sat next to each other which caused some sort of online backlash. Your husband recently talked about the dangers of ‘cancel culture.’ What do you say to people that want to be closer with each other?”

Obama noted: “When we drop our guards, we let ourselves become vulnerable, and that vulnerability allows us to share our true stories with each other.”

She added: “The things that really connect us, like how we were raised, the values that we learned around the dinner table, the people who impacted us in our lives, the things that made us scared, things that gave us courage… that when we share that truth, we can see ourselves in each other a little bit better.”

DeGeneres defended her friendship with Bush

DeGeneres used her daytime talk show to defend her friendship with Bush, explaining: “When we were invited, I was aware I was gonna be surrounded with people from very different views and beliefs and I’m not talking politics. I was rooting for the Packers and — get this — everybody in the Cowboys suite was rooting for the Cowboys.”

She continued: “During the game, they showed a shot of George and me laughing together, so people were upset. They thought, ‘Why is a gay Hollywood liberal sitting next to a conservative Republican president?’ Didn’t even notice I’m holding the brand new iPhone 11.”

DeGeneres laid it out simply, noting that political differences can be put aside. She noted: “Here’s the thing: I’m friends with George Bush. In fact, I’m friends with a lot of people who don’t share the same beliefs that I have. We’re all different and I think that we’ve forgotten that we’re all different. For instance, I wish people wouldn’t wear fur. I don’t like it, but I’m friends with people who wear fur and I’m friends with people who are furry, as a matter of fact.”

She added: “But just because I don’t agree with someone on everything doesn’t mean that I’m not gonna be friends with them. When I say be kind to one another, I don’t mean only the people that think the same way you do. I mean be kind to everyone. It doesn’t matter.”