Michelle Obama has spoken out about the drama surrounding talk show host Ellen DeGeneres being photographed sitting next to George W. Bush at a sporting event in October.
DeGeneres found herself on the receiving end of backlash after she was snapped talking and laughing with Bush at a Dallas Cowboys game. Some saw the fact that she was enjoying the conservative politician’s company as a betrayal of her liberal values.
During an interview with Bush’s daughter, Jenna Bush Hager, for the Today show, Obama discussed her own friendship with the former president.
“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. Our values are the same,” she responded when asked about the drama surrounding Bush and DeGeneres. “We disagreed 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.”
DeGeneres previously addressed the backlash on her show, saying she believes in promoting kindness even if people don’t share the same beliefs.
“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,” she said. “We’re all different, and I think that we’ve forgotten that that’s OK that we’re all different.”
At the time, some remained unimpressed with the friendship, with actor Mark Ruffalo tweeting his disdain.
“Sorry, until George W. Bush is brought to justice for the crimes of the Iraq War, (including American-lead torture, Iraqi deaths & displacement, and the deep scars-emotional & otherwise-inflicted on our military that served his folly), we can’t even begin to talk about kindness,” he wrote.