President Trump will send the presidential 747 jet to Texas this week to carry the body of former President George H.W. Bush to Washington, D.C., where the 41st president will lie in state in the U.S. Capitol.
Bush died Friday night at age 94. Plans are underway to celebrate his life, both in D.C. and in Texas, where he will be buried.
“Air Force One will be taking myself and a group of our people back to Washington. It will then be reset and it will be sent to Houston to pick up the casket of President Bush and it will be sent back to Washington,” Trump told reporters in Buenos Aires on Saturday before he returned to Washington.
“We will be spending three days of mourning and three days celebrating a really great man’s life,” Trump said.
Of course, to sticklers, the plane isn’t really Air Force One. That designates a plane (any plane) that carries the president. There’s no word if a plane is Air Force One if it carries the body of a late president. (Jim McGrath, a longtime friend and personal aide to Bush, later said the flight will be dubbed “Special Air Mission 41”).
Trump also announced that Wednesday will be a national day of mourning to honor Bush, a Republican whose presidency ran from January 1989 to January 1993. Bush also served in World War II and was CIA director before being elected as vice president with Ronald Reagan in 1980.
“Other details regarding the state funeral for former President Bush were revealed by his office Saturday,” Fox News reported.
The schedule for the state funeral and related services and ceremonies were broken into three stages, divided between Washington and sites in the Houston area, according to a news release from the Joint Task Force-National Capital Region, the group that announced via Bush’s website that it would be collaborating with the Bush family “to carry out” the former president’s wishes regarding his funeral. …
The proceedings will begin Monday when Bush’s remains are set to depart from Ellington Field in Houston, en route to Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, according to the news release.
Following their arrival, “Bush’s remains will lie in state in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol” from Monday at 7:30 p.m. until Wednesday at 8:45 a.m., “with a guard of honor in attendance,” officials said.
After departing the Capitol, Bush’s remains will be taken to Washington National Cathedral for a funeral. They’ll then go back to Joint Base Andrews, with a destination set for Texas, the news release said.
Once back in Texas, “Bush’s remains will lie in repose at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church” in Houston from Wednesday at 6:45 p.m. until Thursday at 6 a.m., again “with a guard of honor in attendance,” according to officials.
Later Thursday morning, a funeral service is scheduled to be held at the church, the news release said.
“Former President Bush’s remains will depart St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, Houston, and be transported by motorcade to Union Pacific Railroad Westfield Auto Facility, Spring, Texas,” according to the news release. “President Bush’s remains will then be transported by funeral car (train) to College Station, Texas.”
It’s not the first time Trump has loaned out a government plane. After the death of Sen. John McCain, the Arizona Republican who battled Trump for the 2016 GOP nomination and then became a fierce critic of him, his body was brought to Washington aboard the vice president’s 747, known as Air Force Two.