Bush 41’s ‘horrendous sense of good humor’ remembered

WASHINGTON — When people start swapping stories about former President George H.W. Bush at the Washington National Cathedral on Wednesday, a church leader who will be at the funeral will be remembering what she calls his “horrendous sense of good humor.”

The Rev. Canon Jan Naylor Cope, National Cathedral provost, joined the staff of Barbara Bush straight out of college 40 years ago and later worked in the Bush 41 White House.

“Very few people have spoken about George Bush’s horrendous sense of good humor,” Cope said. “He was serious when he needed to be. But, he was also a person who enjoyed a great joke.”

Cope said she was in the White House when Bush brought in Dana Carvey to impersonate him.

“It was hilarious,” she remembered. “He stood right next to him, and they mirrored one another making those funny hand gestures and everything. It was really remarkable, memorable. I’ll never forget it. It was also hilarious.”

Bush did that, Cope said, to entertain his staff after losing the presidency.

“He knew we were hurting, and he wanted to do whatever he could to lighten our heavy hearts,” Cope said.


Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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