As they did eight years ago when their father left the presidency, the daughters of George W. Bush penned a letter to President Obama’s daughters.
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“In eight years, you have done so much. Seen so much,” Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Bush wrote in a letter to Sasha and Malia Obama. The Bush daughters referred to several experiences, including the Obama family’s 2013 visit to Nelson Mandela’s prison cell, trips to Liberia and Morocco and the yearly Thanksgiving turkey pardon.
“We have watched you grow from girls to impressive young women with grace and ease,” the Bush daughters wrote in the letter, published by Time magazine. “And through it all you had each other. Just like we did.”
Now, the Obama girls will be part of a group of former “First Children” — “a position you didn’t seek and one with no guidelines,” the Bush girls said. But the Bushes encouraged the Obamas to remember the people who work at the White House, noting that they keep in touch with their former Secret Service detailers.
The Bushes are not the only first children to notably and publicly reach out to the Obama children. Patti Davis, the daughter of Ronald Reagan, wrote a blog post to Sasha and Malia in 2014 after a Republican congressional staffer criticized the Obamas for their appearance during the annual Thanksgiving turkey pardon.
In 2009, on the cusp of George W. Bush’s exit from the presidency and the beginning of Barack Obama’s first term, Jenna and Barbara offered advice to Sasha and Malia on how to live in the White House.
“Surround yourself with loyal friends,” they wrote then. “They’ll protect and calm you and join in on some of the fun, and appreciate the history.”
The Bushes echoed that advice to the Obamas in their post-White House lives.
“Continue to surround yourself with loyal friends who know you, adore you and will fiercely protect you,” the Bush daughters wrote. “Those who judge you don’t love you, and their voices shouldn’t hold weight. Rather, it’s your own hearts that matter.”
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