“It’s important to me to join the Bush family in celebrating President George H.W. Bush’s exemplary life,” Obama wrote in a message posted to her Twitter account Sunday. “This will unfortunately preclude my visits to Paris and Berlin.”
Bush, the 41st president of the United States, died on Friday at the age of 94. His body will lie in state in Washington, D.C., beginning Monday before his funeral on Thursday. His wife, Barbara Bush, died in April at the age of 92.
The Obamas have formed a close friendship with the Bush family in recent years, and the family shared a tribute to the late president on Friday, saying the country had “lost a patriot and a humble servant.”
“After seventy-three years of marriage, George and Barbara Bush are together again now, two points of light that never dimmed,” the Obamas said in a statement. “What a testament to the qualities that make this country great. Service to others. Commitment to leaving behind something better. Sacrifice in the name of lifting this country closer to its founding ideals.”
Michelle Obama has regularly been photographed sitting next to George H.W. Bush’s oldest son, former President George W. Bush, at official events, and the pair have grown close to the point where the former first lady referred to Bush as her “partner in crime.”
“President Bush and I are forever seatmates because of protocol — that’s how we sit at all the official functions,” she said in October. “So he is my partner in crime at every major thing where all the formers gather.”
“I love him to death,” Obama continued. “He’s a wonderful man.”
Obama released her highly anticipated memoir, Becoming, in November and has been on a multicity tour to promote the book. Her husband has made surprise cameos during popular events, and talk show host Ellen Degeneres even joined the former first lady at a signing.
On Twitter Sunday, Obama said she hoped readers would understand her decision to attend the funeral in lieu of her book events, but said she would work to reschedule the trip for next year.
“Join me in paying tribute to him and his tremendous contributions to our world,” she wrote.