Former First Daughter Jenna Bush Hager appeared on Bravo’s “Watch What Happens Live” on the episode that aired on Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014. Hagar weighed-in on Elizabeth Lauten’s attack on the current first daughters Malia, 16 and Sasha Obama’s behavior at the Thanksgiving Turkey Pardon on Wednesday, Nov. 26. On Twitter and other social media, the public dragged Jenna Bush into the controversy criticizing so many years later her “wild” behavior when father, Republican President George W. Bush (2001-09) first entered office. Hagar admitted to host Andy Cohen a little detail about her time at the White House that lives up to that image.
Each year, Malia and Sasha join their father for the Thanksgiving Turkey pardon ceremony, one of the few official duties of the Obama girls, along with being present at some other holiday White House events. In a Facebook post Lauten criticized the president’s daughters saying they should “try showing a little class,” “dress like you deserve respect, not a spot at a bar,” and, “don’t make faces.” Lauten later erased the original post and posted an apology, but the damage was already done. Lauten was the Communication Director of Republican Rep. Stephen Fincher of Tennessee. After a backlash from the media and on social media, Lauten resigned from her post early Monday morning, Dec. 1.
When Hagar was asked to weigh-in on the controversy, she responded; “I’m fiercely protective of them, obviously. I don’t think that it’s easy. It’s not a job that they wanted.” Jenna understands what it is like to be a teenager under the scrutiny just because their father is president. Hager recounted her own experiences, saying, “Obviously I had a hard time [when my dad was in the White House], but it’s also a privilege.”
During the Lauten uproar, Democrats took to Twitter and in turn decided to attack Jenna for her behavior as a teenager. The comments turned ugly, and the public ended up doing exactly what they abhorred so much. They took to Twitter posting embarrassing pictures of Jenna during her father’s time as president and used the hashtag #classy. The picture most tweeted was of Jenna at 19 drunk holding a cigarette at a college party, tripping over a friend; the image went viral on Twitter. At that point, the media just as cruelly highlighted behavior that although no model, is no different than any other college freshman does now, giving her the nickname then of Jenna and Tonic.
Keeping to the topic of her wild child behavior a viewer asked Hagar if she “fooled around” in the White House while her parents lived there. To which Hagar coyly responded, “Listen, a lady never talks.” Janna did however admit, “You know maybe there was a little hanky-panky.” Hagar made it seem far more racier or naughty then it actually was. When she continued she revealed, “There was like maybe a kiss on the roof,” supposedly with her Henry Hager, when she first began dating her future husband, whom she called a “dream boat.” When Cohen asked if anything ever happened in the Lincoln bedroom, Hager quickly responded “No!” She then lamented, “Maybe I missed that opportunity.”
Jenna, 33, is now a mother, a NBC Today show correspondent; she is also a licensed teacher and an author. Her and her twin sister Barbara where already away at college when their father was elected president. They both spent little time at the White House, mostly during holidays and breaks from college.
Bonnie K. Goodman is the Editor of the Academic Buzz Network, a series of political, academic & education blogs which includes History Musings: History, News & Politics. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies, both from McGill University, and has done graduate work in Jewish history at Concordia University as part of the MA in Judaic Studies program. She covers US, Canadian, Israeli and international news, anything from crime to human interest stories and everything in between.