'Twelve years!' Jenna Bush Hager reflects on showing Obama girls around the White House

Jenna reflected back to 2008 when she showed a young Sasha and Malia Obama around the White House during the presidential transition from George W. Bush to Barack Obama.
/ Source: TODAY

Jenna Bush Hager is reflecting on how she first formed a bond with sisters Malia and Sasha Obama during the transition in 2008 from her father's presidency to their father's first term.

Long before Jenna was a TODAY co-host and mother of three, she was a 25-year-old teacher joining her twin sister, Barbara, to introduce the Obama girls, who are now both in college, to their new home at the White House at the start of Barack Obama's presidency.

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"Twelve years ago (!!!) today—I drove from my job teaching in Baltimore to meet my mom and sister in DC to show the next residents of this house their new home," Jenna wrote on Instagram Tuesday. "Barbara and I taught the girls how to slide down the banister and all the secrets of the White House we loved as little girls—the best hiding spots, the movie theatre, and bowling alley.

"We showed them our rooms that would soon be theirs. Twelve years! PS I love my 'teacher outfit' it makes me nostalgic for that time."

The Bush sisters helped show around a young Malia and Sasha Obama in 2008 during the transition to Barack Obama's presidency. Joyce N. Boghosian / White House Photo

Jenna, 38, shared some of the rarely-seen throwback photos of her with Sasha, now 19, and Malia, now 22, that she first released in 2017 when the Obamas were leaving the White House.

Tuesday marked 12 years to the day that Jenna and Barbara showed Sasha and Malia around after first lady Laura Bush spoke with Michelle Obama and suggested she bring the girls for a tour.

"We spent the afternoon with them," Jenna said on TODAY Wednesday. "We taught them all of the little secrets that little girls love about the White House. We showed them the florist shop, we showed them how to slide down the banister — me and my cousin's favorite activity.

"And it was just a really beautiful day because Barbara and I saw ourselves in those little girls. We were the same age that they were when my grandpa (George H.W. Bush) became president, so to see their wonder at this historic house and also their nervousness, you just related with them so much."

Laura Bush, Jenna Hager and Barbara Bush welcome Michelle Obama, her mother, Marian Robinson, and children Malia and Sasha for a tour of the White House as the girls slide down the ramp. Joyce N. Boghosian / White House Photo Office

Jenna and Barbara also remembered that day their farewell letter to the Obama sisters during the presidential transition.

"When you slid down the banister of the solarium, just as we had done as 8-year-olds and again as 20-year-olds chasing our youth, your joy and laughter were contagious," they wrote.

Sasha Obama enjoys the comfort of the White House's private movie theater. Joyce N. Boghosian / White House Photo

The Bush sisters also showed the Obama girls the perks of living in the White House, like a private bowling alley and movie theater.

Jenna spoke on "Watch What Happens Live" in September about how that sisterhood of presidential daughters has endured.

"There is a sisterhood because it’s so few of us that we know what it’s like and the beauty of it and living history and also some of the difficulties,” she said.

Barron Trump, 14, who is President Donald Trump's son with first lady Melania Trump, has been the only child to occupy the White House in the past four years. He was the first boy to live in the White House since John F. Kennedy Jr., who lived at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue until his father's 1963 assassination.

There will be no young children in the White House once president-elect Joe Biden starts his term, as his son Hunter is 50 and his daughter Ashley is 39. But he does have grandchildren ranging in age from less than a year old to 26, who will almost certainly spend some time hanging out at the White House.