Former president George W. Bush and Ellen DeGeneres sat next to each other at a Dallas Cowboys football game and the internet was quick to react.
According to USA Today, Fox showed a short clip of the former president and TV host chatting among their wives Laura Bush and Portia de Rossi.
Memes started popping up on social media.
Even ESPN commentator Clinton Yates had something to say. “Ellen sitting next to Dubya definitely qualified as a Sunday shocker”, he tweeted.
Though a lot of responses were all in good fun, some social media users were critical of the pair sitting together.
Another user tweeted that Bush was “one of our worst presidents and left our country and world in bad shape,” also commenting that it didn’t look good for Ellen.
Others had completely opposite opinions. A twitter user questioned why people were hating so much.
On Tuesday’s “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”, the host takes some time to respond to the controversy, explaining that she was seated next to Bush after being invited to the game by the daughter of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.
“When we were invited, I was aware that we were going to be surrounded by many other people from different views and beliefs,” she says. “During the game they showed a shot of George and me laughing together and people were upset. They thought, ‘Why is a gay Hollywood liberal sitting next to a conservative Republican president?’”
She went on, “Here’s the thing. I’m friends with George Bush. I’m friends with a lot of people who don’t share the same beliefs that I have. We’re all different and I think we’ve forgotten that that’s okay that we’re all different… Just because I don’t agree with someone on everything doesn’t mean I’m not going to be friends with them. When I say, ‘Be kind to one another,’ I don’t only mean only the people who think the same way that you do. I mean be kind to everyone.”
A rep for Bush told TMZ that the former president supports what DeGeneres had to say on her show, including the idea of being kind of people with different opinion.
DeGeneres also got support for her response on Twitter from Blake Shelton.
When video of DeGeneres’ response landed online, many on Twitter applauded her for her kind-hearted approach to others who disagree with her politically.
Others, though, were not impressed by the response, taking issue with Bush’s record as President, rather than the fact that his opinions differ.
This isn’t the first time DeGeneres and Bush have hung out in person. He was also on “The Ellen Show” in 2017.
Since the end of his presidency, Bush has made a book called Portraits of Courage: A Commander-in-Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors. It includes stories and oil paintings of military veterans painted by Bush himself. An exhibit of some of the paintings will open in October at the Kennedy Center in Washington.