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Michelle Obama shares how much Jenna's White House tour meant to Sasha and Malia

The former first lady shared that a White House tour given by Jenna Bush Hager and her twin sister to Obama's daughters in 2008 "made a difference in their entire experience."
/ Source: TODAY

Jenna Bush Hager and her twin sister, Barbara, were just trying to make Malia and Sasha Obama feel at home when they gave them a tour of the White House in 2008 before Barack Obama began his first term as president.

It turns out that gesture meant a lot more to the young girls at the time than Jenna had thought.

Michelle Obama shared on TODAY Tuesday the impact of that moment on her family.

"Malia and Sasha remember that time more than a lot of things that I would've thought of because they saw those pictures too, and we sat and had an entire dinner about those first days and how they just cherished these two young, beautiful women who had done what they were doing, who were taking time out of their lives, because it was very clear you guys were excited to do it," Michelle Obama told Jenna on TODAY.

Malia, 22, is now a senior at Harvard University, and Sasha, 19, is a sophomore at the University of Michigan.

The daughters of President George W. Bush were both in their 20s at the time of the tour, while Malia was 10 and Sasha was only 7. Sasha was the youngest child to live in the White House since John F. Kennedy Jr. in the early 1960s.

"And it was just a really beautiful day because Barbara and I saw ourselves in those little girls," Jenna said on TODAY in November. "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."

Jenna was teaching at a school in Baltimore at the time, while Barbara was working at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City. They drove down to Washington, D.C., to make sure the young Obama girls would feel welcome as they embarked on what turned out to be an eight-year stint in the White House.

"You came in from wherever you were especially to meet with them and they knew that, and it made a difference in their entire experience," Michelle Obama told Jenna.

"I couldn't believe she said that," Jenna said on TODAY. "What I think it shows is that none of us ever know the power that we have. This happened to be in the White House, but in any house, the kindness that you show somebody."

Jenna said the idea for the tour came from the outgoing first lady — her mother, Laura Bush.

"My mom looked at Mrs. Obama and thought, put politics aside, she's a mother that's nervous about her two little girls moving from Chicago to Washington," Jenna said. "And it was my mom who called us and said (to give the tour)."

In their wide-ranging interview, Jenna and the former first lady also talked about her new Netflix show, the mental strain of the pandemic, the recent bombshell interview involving the former Meghan Markle, and how Obama has "cherished" the time she has been able to spend with her daughters.