Donald Trump will attend the funeral of former US president George H W Bush on Wednesday, capping days of public praise for the Bush family and ending a feud that has simmered at the heart of the Republican Party for years.
Mr Trump is expected to sit in a row of the National Cathedral in Washington, DC, alongside former presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter for the service.
The US president has clashed in the past with Mr Bush, America’s 41st president who died aged 94 on Friday, and his son George W Bush, the 43rd president who did not vote for Mr Trump in the 2016 election.
Mr Trump once mocked Mr Bush Snr’s well-known “thousand points of light” phrase, used to describe the positive impact volunteers have on the country, asking “what the hell is that?”, and was fiercely critical of both the former president’s sons.
Mr Trump repeatedly criticised Mr Bush Jnr’s policies, not least his Middle Eastern military intervention, and defeated Jeb Bush, his brother, in the 2016 race for the Republican presidential nomination, dubbing him “low-energy Jeb”.
But since Mr Bush Snr’s passing, Mr Trump has issued glowing praise for his legacy and declined to repeat past criticism despite being asked about it by reporters.
On Saturday, Mr Trump cancelled a press conference at the G20 summit in Argentina out of respect after the news broke and called Mr Bush Snr a “truly wonderful man” whose “accomplishments were great from beginning to end”.
He ordered a national day of mourning for Wednesday, with all government departments closing, and offered up his presidential plane to bring Mr Bush Snr’s body to Washington DC, the American capital, for three days of commemorations.
On Monday, Mr Trump made an unexpected visit to the US Congress, where Mr Bush was lying in state, standing before the casket with Melania Trump, his wife, and solemnly saluting.
On Tuesday, Mrs Trump gave Laura Bush, the wife of George W Bush and former first lady, a tour of the White House Christmas decorations, while Mr Trump himself was due to meet the family later in the day.
“Looking forward to being with the wonderful Bush family at Blair House today,” Mr Trump tweeted, adding: “The elegance & precision of the last two days have been remarkable!”
Mr Trump’s actions are in marked contrast to the days after the death of John McCain, the former Republican senator and presidential candidate who frequently clashed with US president.
Mr Trump faced criticism for his limited praise of Mr McCain on that occasion. He was not invited to Mr McCain’s funeral, which was covered live by prominent cable television news channels, and went to play golf half way through the service.
The Washington Post reported that the Bush family contacted the White House this summer as Mr Bush Snr’s health was failing to make clear Mr Trump would be welcome at funeral and that the service would not focus on their disagreements.
Mr Bush will be eulogised by his son, George W Bush, the former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney, former US senator Alan Simpson, and presidential historian Jon Meacham. Prince Charles will attend the service, representing the Queen.
Mr Bush’s casket will leave the US Congress on Wednesday morning before being processed to the National Cathedral. Another funeral will take place on Thursday in Texas, his home state.