The president will head to Austin for the annual festival leaving Michelle Obama to honor Ronald Reagan’s widow in California
President Obama will miss Nancy Reagan’s funeral on Friday to attend the South by Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas.
Instead, First Lady Michelle Obama will attend the service in honor of Ronald Reagan’s widow, who died Sunday at age 94.
According to a statement from a Reagan Foundation spokesperson, Mrs. Reagan will be interred beside her husband at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. Former first lady and secretary of state Hillary Clinton will also attend the service, her campaign said.
Obama already had prior obligations at SXSW and in recent decades, presidents have not attended the funerals of former first ladies.
A keynote speaker at SXSW, Obama will talk about how tech companies can help solve the world’s problems during an event on Friday afternoon.
He will be interviewed by Evan Smith of the Texas Tribune and the public will have the opportunity to be part of the conversation by sending in questions to the Tribune. SXSW conducted a ticket drawing starting at 10 a.m. CT Tuesday to determine which badgeholders will be admitted to this event, according to the official website.
“Our former First Lady redefined the role in her time here. Later, in her long goodbye with President Reagan, she became a voice on behalf of millions of families going through the depleting, aching reality of Alzheimer’s, and took on a new role, as advocate, on behalf of treatments that hold the potential and the promise to improve and save lives,” the Obamas said of Nancy Reagan in a statement after her death.
“We offer our sincere condolences to their children, Patti, Ron, and Michael, and to their grandchildren. And we remain grateful for Nancy Reagan’s life, thankful for her guidance, and prayerful that she and her beloved husband are together again.”