Jenna Bush Hager has called for political leaders to follow the example of her grandfather, late former President George H. W. Bush, and former President Bill Clinton after they managed to develop a close friendship despite being members of opposing parties.
The Today host, 40, reflected on the way her grandfather set aside any hard feelings after Clinton beat him out for the presidency in 1992 – even though the loss ‘crushed’ him.
Speaking to DailyMail.com after filming Today with Hoda and Jenna on Monday, Bush Hager commented on the need for less ‘divisive’ interactions between opposing parties as she reflected on the vitriolic midterm election campaigns.
Jenna Bush Hager believes political leaders should follow the example of her grandfather, late former President George H. W. Bush, and former President Bill Clinton
Clinton (L) and H.W. Bush (R) managed to develop a close friendship despite being members of opposing parties
The former First Daughter stated: ‘Just look at my grandfather and President Clinton. President Clinton beat my grandfather and my grandfather was crushed. He ran a hard campaign, and he was crushed about it.
‘Then after a few years, they were put together by my dad to raise funds for a bunch of different things and he became a bit of a surrogate father for him.’
After Clinton beat H. W. Bush to win the presidency in November 1992, Bush famously wrote, ‘Your success now is our country’s success. I am rooting hard for you,’ in the customary letter given to Clinton on his 1993 inauguration day.
The kind words gave rise to a friendship that ran for decades, and the exchange between the political rivals started the tradition that the outgoing President would write a supportive letter to the incoming leader.
When George W. Bush later asked his father and Clinton to be involved in US relief efforts for the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami disaster and Hurricane Karina in 2005, the pair traveled together far and wide in their efforts.
Affection between presidents across today’s toxic political divide has managed still to extend beyond Clinton and the elder Bush. Indeed, the Obamas have also become friendly with the Bush family over the years.
Bush Hager praised the way her grandfather set aside any hard feelings after Clinton beat him out for the presidency in 1992 – the pair pictured together in January 2005 (left) and February 2005 (right)
After Clinton beat Bush to win the presidency in November 1992, Bush famously wrote a short yet intimate note that began a launched a long-lasting friendship
Bush Hager claimed that her grandfather was like a ‘surrogate father’ to Clinton in many ways
Bush Hager pictured with her late grandfather in an image shared on her Instagram page
Bush Hager touched on her father’s friendship with Mrs. Obama, after interviewing former First Lady about her new book, The Light We Carry, in front of a live studio audience.
‘We didn’t get to talk about it on-air but I think my dad and Mrs. Obama’s relationship is the perfect example,’ she told DailyMail.com. ‘We all know about that picture of Mrs. Obama and my father, and it shouldn’t shock people.’
Bush and Mrs. Obama are usually seated next to each other at major events that former presidents and first ladies attend.
This has led to many viral moments including when the pair were pictured embracing during the inauguration of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in 2016.
Bush and Clinton interacted at many public events including FOX Broadcast booth during the XXXIX Superbowl pregame show in February 2005
Bush Hager also touched on her father’s friendship with Mrs. Obama after interviewing former First Lady about her new book on Monday
Bush and Mrs. Obama are usually seated next to each other at major events that former presidents and first ladies attend, leading to many viral moments
Bush also famously passed Obama mints at the funerals for Senator John McCain and his own father, H.W. Bush.
‘Bush Hager continued: ‘Just because you have different political thoughts doesn’t mean that we’re not all human, with beating hearts and dreams for our kids.’
‘I actually do think that while we talk a lot about the division, there is a lot of love too. That’s what we try and focus on. After a global pandemic, let’s focus on the good.’
‘I think there is so much of that in this country everywhere you look, but it gets lost. You’ve just gotta look for it,’ the TV host stated.