In a clip that will air as part of her daytime talk show on Tuesday, Ellen DeGeneres addressed the backlash she received over the weekend when cameras caught her sharing a laugh with former President George W. Bush in the owner’s box at the Dallas Cowboys game.
As the comedian explained, she and her wife Portia de Rossi were invited to the game by Charlotte Jones, the daughter of Trump-supporting Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, and ended up seated in the luxury box next to the former president and his wife Laura Bush.
“When we were invited, I was aware that I was going to be surrounded by people with very different views and beliefs,” DeGeneres said, before joking that it was not because of “politics” but because she was rooting for the Green Bay Packers.
“During the game, they showed a shot of George and me laughing together,” she continued, putting a still of the moment on screen beside her. “And people were upset. They thought, why is a gay Hollywood liberal sitting next to a conservative Republican president? Didn’t even notice I’m holding the brand new iPhone 11.”
DeGeneres said she knew “a lot of people were mad” because “they did what people do when they’re mad: they tweet.” Instead of addressing any of their specific criticisms—including one from actor John Cusack that simply read, “fuck normalizing mass murderers”—the host highlighted one tweet that read, “Ellen and George Bush together makes me have faith in America again.”
“Here’s the thing: I’m friends with George Bush, and in fact, I’m friends with a lot of people who don’t share the same beliefs that I have,” DeGeneres said, comparing it to “being friends with people who wear fur” even though she doesn’t believe in wearing fur. “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 just mean the people who think the same way that you do,” she said, referring to her well-known mantra. “I mean be kind to everyone.”