Michelle Obama revealed her true feelings about George W. Bush in a candid interview with his daughter Jenna, insisting that she holds the former Republican president in the highest regard, despite their differing political views.
Speaking to former first daughter Jenna Bush Hager in an interview for Today, the 54-year-old insisted that she has always maintained a close friendship with the statesman, who served for two terms before her own husband, Democrat Barack Obama, took over the White House, despite fighting on opposite sides, as it were.
‘I think the political discourse, the way it’s shown in the media, it’s all the nasty parts of it,’ she told mother-of-two Jenna, 36. ‘Because I guess we’ve become a culture where the nasty sells so people are just gonna keep feeding that.’
Opening up: Michelle Obama has praised her close friend George W. Bush in a candid interview with his daughter, Jenna Bush Hager
Close: The former first lady, 54, who is pictured with the former Republican president in 2016, revealed that she has always remained close with him, despite their opposing political views
‘We’re all Americans. We all care about our family and our kids, and we’re trying to get ahead. We have different ideas about what’s the best way to get there. But that doesn’t make me evil. And that doesn’t make him, you know, stupid.
‘It’s just a disagreement and that’s how I feel about your father. You know? He’s a beautiful, funny, kind, sweet man. And I don’t know that I agree with him on everything.
‘I’d love if we as a country could get back to the place where we didn’t demonize people who disagreed with us. Because that’s essentially the difference between Republicans and Democrats.’
The pair are frequently seated next to one another at events, due to official protocol for the arrangement of former presidents, however Michelle is adamant that their friendly relationship extends far beyond public ceremony – something that she has made clear on more than one occasion.
In September 2016, she was seen embracing George W. while the pair attended the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. along with their respective spouses.
And as far as George W. is concerned, the friendly feeling is certainly mutual, with Jenna revealing during the interview that her father had texted her and asked her to ‘send Michelle my love’.
‘I was like, “Don’t you call her Mrs. Obama?”‘ Jenna then joked. ‘He’s like, “No, I call her… Michelle.”
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama walking with former President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush in 2011
Gratitude: Michelle Obama praised former first daughters Jenna and Barbara Bush and Chelsea Clinton during her appearance on Good Morning America Tuesday
‘He said, “Send her my love.” And I thought, you know, it’s so interesting how people are so interested in y’all’s friendship.’
She then said of the sweet snap of Michelle and George’s embrace: ‘I mean that hug was, like, the hug that went around the world. I do love that picture.’
In 2017, George W. told People that their friendship was founded on a shared sense of humor, revealing: ‘She kind of likes my sense of humor.
‘Anybody who likes my sense of humor, I immediately like.
‘I needle her a little bit and around her, I’m fairly lighthearted. [The Obamas] are around serious people all the time and we just took to each other.’
Michelle’s interview with Jenna aired just hours after the former first lady praised the former first daughter – and her twin Barbara – during an appearance on Good Morning America, telling anchor Robin Roberts how grateful she was that the sisters had shown so much kindness towards her own daughters, Malia, now 20, and Sasha, now 17.
‘I am so proud of those little girls,’ Michelle said of her children with former President Barack Obama. ‘They have managed this situation with poise and grace, and they are normal and kind and smart and friendly and open.
Candid: The former first lady said she will ‘love them forever’ because they always supported her daughters Malia, 20, and Sasha, 17,
Support system: Barbara and Jenna penned a heartfelt letter to Malia and Sasha as they prepared to leave the White House in 2017. They are pictured in 2004 (L) and in September (R)
‘Gosh, and it could’ve gone so wrong,’ she added. ‘But I will also say that they had support from a lot of the other former first kids ― Jenna and Barbara and Chelsea.
‘I love those girls. I will love them forever for what kind of support they provided to my daughters throughout that. They always had their backs.’
Michelle noted that whenever anyone would ‘go after’ her daughters in the press, Jenna would ‘say something’ and Chelsea would ‘send a tweet out.’
‘That made a big, big difference, so [Malia and Sasha] are doing well,’ Michelle said.
In January 2017, the Bush twins penned a heartfelt letter to Malia and Sasha as they prepared to leave the White House following President Donald Trump’s inauguration.
Later that year, Chelsea, 38, defended Malia after media outlets published leaked videos of the Harvard student smoking and kissing someone at a tailgate party.
‘Malia Obama’s private life, as a young woman, a college student, a private citizen, should not be your clickbait,’ she tweeted. ‘Be better.’