Most of the people featured in PJM’s latest man on the street video said President Obama should attend former first lady Nancy Reagan’s funeral Friday to pay his respects.
One man said he should skip the funeral because it would be a “political nightmare” depending on who else shows up.
“I don’t see why he shouldn’t, but if possible, yes,” said one woman in Washington, D.C.
When she was informed of the White House announcement that Obama is planning to attend South by Southwest, a music, technology, and film festival, instead, she replied, “Well, he made his decision so you can’t change it, but I think he should be there.”
Another woman said Obama should attend “out of respect.”
“It’s a lovely lady that served our country and she passed away and we should serve our respects,” she said.
However, a D.C. resident told PJM that Obama should not attend because Ronald Reagan is the “symbol of Republicans.”
“So to be at that funeral he would get flack. If he didn’t go he was going to get flack, but rather get flack from the Republicans than the Democrats,” he said.
The man argued that the funeral is “absolutely political.”
“He had other things to do and Ronald Reagan passing and it’s so close to primaries and Trump. It could be a political nightmare depending on who is at the funeral and what he said or what he did and what he didn’t do, and you would hate to rub the Democrats the wrong way so I think it’s a good idea,” he said.
A Russian woman said it is the tradition in her country for presidents to attend the funerals of former first ladies, so Obama should go.
Others said Obama should attend if he has time but that they would not judge him either way.
“To be honest, it’s sad that she passed. The president, I feel like if he has time, he can go but obviously she was 94 — not that it was sort of expected but, you know, she was getting old, it was her time. If he feels like he needs to pay his respects he should but I’m not going to judge him either way,” one man said.
The service for Nancy Reagan will take place at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., where she will be laid to rest next to her husband. First Lady Michelle Obama will attend, along with former first ladies Rosalynn Carter, Hillary Clinton, and Laura Bush. Former President George W. Bush will be standing in for his mother, 90-year-old Barbara Bush.