Trump, Obama, Clinton, and Carter put politics aside, sitting side-by-side at George HW Bush's funeral

Key Points
  • President Trump and former presidents Obama, Clinton, and Carter came together to say goodbye to George H.W. Bush.
  • It was an extraordinary moment because of the turmoil that has engulfed politics, says GOP strategist Sara Fagen.
  • She hopes the pattern of civility survives.
Family and friends mourn the 41st president of the United States

President Donald Trump and former Presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter all came together on Wednesday to say farewell George Herbert Walker Bush.

It was an extraordinary moment because of the turmoil that has engulfed politics, Republican strategist Sara Fagen told CNBC.

"It has been a very tumultuous political time over the last several years so I think a moment like this is even greater and more poignant because of the times that we live in," said Fagen, former senior aide and White House political director to George W. Bush, the 43rd president who eulogized his father.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump sit with former President Barack Obama in the first row along with former first lady Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton and former first lady Hillary Clinton, former President Jimmy Carter and first lady Rosalynn Carter prior to the state funeral for former U.S. President George H.W. Bush at the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, U.S., December 5, 2018. 
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

Trump and the former presidents, along with their spouses, all sat together in Washington National Cathedral, the site for the state funeral. George H.W. Bush, the 41st president — who called for a kinder, gentler nation — died Friday at 94.

When Trump arrived, he and the first lady shook hands with the Obamas and sat down next to them. Barack Obama, a Democrat, has been a frequent target of the Republican Trump, who has moved to undo his predecessor's policies.

There are also tensions among Trump and the Clintons. Trump repeatedly bashed Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, during the last election race.

The apparent harmony is a remarkable statement about our country, said Fagen, a CNBC contributor.

"To see all these presidents and world leaders come together to pay their respects for somebody who devoted their life to public service is something we can all take pride in as Americans," she said.

"[I] certainly hope that we see this pattern of civility, at least at key moments in the nation's history, survive," she added.

Bush enters National Cathedral at the start of his funeral