President Barack Obama will not be attending Nancy Reagan’s funeral this Friday, opting instead to keep his speaking engagement at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas. Michelle Obama will attend the funeral in his stead according to the Washington Post. Hillary Clinton also plans to “drop off the trail briefly” to pay her respects, a campaign spokesman said.
Following the former first lady’s death Monday, Obama said, “As somebody who is lucky enough to have an extraordinary partner in my life as well, I know how much she meant not just to President Reagan but to the country as a whole.”
The South by Southwest festival includes film, music, and technology conferences. On Friday, there will be film festival screenings, including for the new Peewee Herman movie, and SXSW comedy.
This will not be the first time Obama has slighted Mrs. Reagan. During his very first news conference after being elected president in November 2008, Obama insulted her with an unnecessarily snide offhand remark.
When a reporter asked Obama if he had spoken with any ex-presidents since his election on Tuesday, he responded that he had spoken to all former presidents “that are living.”
“I didn’t want to get into a Nancy Reagan thing about, you know, doing any seances,” he said.
Obama called the former first lady later that day to apologize for the “for the careless and offhanded remark.”
In addition to not attending Mrs Reagan’s funeral, Obama has skipped several other high profile conservative funerals including those of; Antonin Scalia, Margaret Thatcher, Chris Kyle, and Major General Harold Greene. Obama didn’t even send a representative to the memorial mass of beheaded journalist James Foley. He also didn’t attend the funeral of his own aunt Zeinuti Onyango, opting to to play a few rounds of golf instead.