FACT CHECK: Did Trump Fail To Put His Hand Over His Heart At Bush’s Funeral?

Emily Larsen | Fact Check Reporter

Many Facebook posts claimed that everyone except President Donald Trump placed their hands over their hearts at former President George H.W. Bush’s funeral.

“As President Bush’s flag draped coffin was carried down the aisle and placed at the front of the church, guess who the only person was who didn’t have their hand over their heart? You guessed it, your dear leader Donald Trump,” one user said Wednesday.

“Everyone has there [sic] hand over their heart except Mr. Trump!” said another user Thursday.

Many other people on Twitter shared screenshots of Trump without his hand over his heart.

“In my mind this is 100 times worse than taking a knee at a football game,” one tweet read.

Verdict: False

Trump briefly placed his hand over his heart as Bush’s casket was brought into the cathedral and did so for longer as it was carried out. Other people, notably former President Jimmy Carter, also did not put their hands over their hearts for a long period of time.

Fact Check:

Trump’s arms were at his sides the majority of the time when Bush’s casket was carried into the Washington National Cathedral Wednesday. But photos and video show that he did briefly place his hand over his heart as military pallbearers brought the casket into the cathedral.

A Time Magazine video of the service shows Trump dropping his hand from his heart after the casket passed his row.


Reuters photos more clearly show Trump putting his hand over his heart as service members brought Bush’s casket into the cathedral.

Other individuals were pictured not placing their hands over their hearts as the casket entered the funeral, notably Carter and former first lady Rosalynn Carter. Some screenshots shared on social media did not show the Carters.

The flag-draped casket of former President George H.W. Bush is carried by a military honor guard past former President George W. Bush, President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, former President Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter during a State Funeral at the National Cathedral, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018, in Washington. Alex Brandon/Pool via REUTERS

The flag-draped casket of former President George H.W. Bush is carried by a military honor guard past former President George W. Bush, President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, former President Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter during a State Funeral at the National Cathedral, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018, in Washington. Alex Brandon/Pool via REUTERS

 

The flag-draped casket of former U.S. President George H.W. Bush is carried by military pallbearers past his son former President George W. Bush (L), U.S. President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, former President Barack Obama, former first lady Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton, former first lady Hillary Clinton, former President Jimmy Carter and former first lady Rosalynn Carter as it arrives at his state funeral at Washington National Cathedral in Washington, U.S., December 5, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

The flag-draped casket of former U.S. President George H.W. Bush is carried by military pallbearers past his son former President George W. Bush (L), U.S. President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, former President Barack Obama, former first lady Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton, former first lady Hillary Clinton, former President Jimmy Carter and former first lady Rosalynn Carter as it arrives at his state funeral at Washington National Cathedral in Washington, U.S., December 5, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Trump placed his hand over his heart for a longer period of time as the pallbearers carried Bush’s casket out of the funeral service. The Carters also placed their hands over their hearts as the casket exited.

U.S. President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, former President Barack Obama, former first lady Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former President Jimmy Carter and former first lady Rosalynn Carter participate in the State Funeral for former President George H.W. Bush, at the National Cathedral, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018 in Washington. Alex Brandon/Pool via REUTERS

U.S. President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, former President Barack Obama, former first lady Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former President Jimmy Carter and former first lady Rosalynn Carter participate in the State Funeral for former President George H.W. Bush, at the National Cathedral, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018 in Washington. Alex Brandon/Pool via REUTERS

A military fact sheet about ceremonial traditions for state funerals does not provide guidance on etiquette for attendees. Funeral websites say that service members at military funerals should salute while the casket is being moved, while civilians should place their right hands over their hearts. Bush was a Navy pilot during World War II.

Many people at former President Ronald Reagan’s state funeral in 2004 did not place their hands over their hearts as his casket passed. Not all people attending former Sen. John McCain’s state funeral in September placed their hands over their hearts.

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Emily Larsen

Fact Check Reporter

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