Ellen DeGeneres has defended her friendship with George W Bush after facing criticism because of his policies on gay issues while US president.
The popular talk show host was confronted after being pictured with Bush at a football game. In the photo, they are seated side by side at the Dallas Cowboys game and are sharing a laugh with one another.
She waited a day before responding on Twitter and her show on Tuesday.
“Yes, that was me at the Cowboys game with George W Bush over the weekend,” she tweeted in a post that linked to a clip of her show in which she addresses the controversy in full.
“When we were invited, I was aware that we were going to be surrounded by many other people from different views and beliefs,” she told the audience.
“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 to say that she is friends with “a lot of people” who have different beliefs from her and that her commitment to being kind to everyone really means “everyone”.
“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,” she continued.
“We’re all different and I think we’ve forgotten that it’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.”
She went on to thank Bush and his wife Laura for a “Sunday afternoon that was so fun”.
Bush has in the past been a guest on Ellen’s talk show, appearing on the show in 2017 to discuss his book, Portraits of Courage.
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