By criticizing Trump indirectly, both Bush and Obama brought politics into a funeral and made themselves look bad.
When the first GOP presidential primary debate took place, the candidates were clearly flummoxed by Trump. He spoke like a someone from behind the counter of a NY deli, and didn’t hesitate to engage in personal insult humor. How to respond? Reply in like kind? No, that would be ruinously unpresidential. Resort to pontificating, holier than thou retorts? Not likely to work for a politician, but that is where most went. Ignore it completely? Whatever was tried, nothing seemed to work; everyone was diminished. And it was painfully clear that everyone was completely non-plused and didn’t know what to do or say. Nobody looked good.
The McCain family told Trump along with McCain running made Sarah Palin that they were not welcome at the funeral. OK, Trump was out. So why not leave him out? Why did Megan McCain bring him back into the service by attacking him in a veiled but obvious way? And why did Bush and Obama do the same, mostly falling back on the holier-than-thou, preachy style that had fallen so flat for the other GOP candidates? Is a funeral really the place for this? Once again, everyone diminished themselves. Once again, Trump seemed to get the better of everyone.
Could anyone do better? I suspect that Ronald Reagan, if alive today, would know what to do. He never seemed non-plused. He never seemed to lose his poise. And above all he never seemed to lose his sense of humor. Those traits are precisely what seems to be missing in today’s torrent of attacks on Trump. In their absence, Trump keeps winning.