Former First Daughter Jenna Bush Hager couldn’t help but get emotional as she reflected on the Capitol riots during Thursday’s episode of the Today show, saying ‘these images are not our America.’
Rioting supporters of President Trump mobbed the U.S. Capitol building on Wednesday amid the certification of the electoral college votes in a day of carnage and shame that left four dead and saw pipe bombs, long guns, and Molotov cocktails discovered on the Capitol grounds.
‘This is not the America that you know. This is not the America that I know. It is not the America that we want our kids to know. So that was hard,’ Jenna, 39, told her co-host Hoda Kotb — just hours after Congress certified President-elect Joe Biden‘s Electoral College victory over President Donald Trump 306 to 232.
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Emotional: Jenna Bush Hager, 39, opened up about how ‘hard’ it was to watch yesterday’s riots at the U.S. Capitol building during Thursday’s episode of the Today show
Horrific: Rioting supporters of President Trump mobbed the Capitol on Wednesday amid the certification of the electoral college in a day of carnage and shame
It was a dark day in history that marked the first time the Capitol Building has been invaded since the War of 1812.
Jenna’s father George W. Bush and late grandfather George H.W. Bush both served as U.S. presidents, and her eyes welled up with tears as she opened up about her connection to the Capitol.
‘I have had the privilege of standing on those steps, in several inaugurations, not just for family members, but for the first black president of the United States of America, when I was a teacher, in inner-city D.C., and that meant so much to so many,’ she recalled.
‘I kissed my grandfather goodbye in that rotunda. I have felt the majesty of our country in those walls and nobody can take that from any of us,’ she continued, her voice shaky.
Terrifying: Four people died during the violence while pipe bombs, long guns, and Molotov cocktails were discovered on the Capitol grounds
Hard to handle: ‘This is not the America that you know. This is not the America that I know,’ Jenna told her co-host Hoda Kotb
‘So I think part of what hurts, and I heard from a friend that’s a writer, is that we feel like we’re helpless maybe in this moment, but we’re not because the casual cruelty from the internet and words that do not reflect our country. We can stop that.’
Jenna explained that despite the horrific violence and division, she believes the country can and will come together and heal.
‘We can share kindness, and smiles, and love, and we can take back what is our country that we all love so very, very much. And you know, I just — I have optimism,’ she said.
‘I see you, seeing people I love, I have to say I want to hug so many people today. That’s a hardship. But seeing people that represent the good, spotlighting them. Like we have an opportunity. And I think, I have faith that our country will be better.’
Connection: Jenna’s father George W. Bush and late grandfather George H.W. Bush both served as U.S. presidents. She’s pictured at her father’s inauguration in 2001
Reflection: Jenna, pictured with her sister Barbara Bush and husband Henry Hager, recalled attending Barack Obama’s inauguration, saying ‘that meant so much to so many’
All four of the living former presidents have condemned the riots, including Jenna’s father, the only Republican in the group.
In his statement, George W. Bush, 74, wrote that he and his wife Laura, 74, were ‘watching the scenes of mayhem unfolding at the seat of our Nation’s government in disbelief and dismay.’
‘It is a sickening and heartbreaking sight,’ he continued. ‘This is how election results are disputed in a banana republic — not our democratic republic. I am appalled by the reckless behavior of some political leaders since the election and by the lack of respect shown today for our institutions, our traditions, and our law enforcement.’
Without naming names, he went on to denounce those in power who helped fuel the divide and encouraged violent uprisings over the presidential election results.
‘I am appalled by the reckless behavior of some political leaders since the election and by the lack of respect shown today for our institutions, our traditions, and our law enforcement,’ Bush said.
Heartbreak: ‘I kissed my grandfather goodbye in that rotunda,’ added Jenna, who is pictured in front of her grandfather George H.W. Bush’s casket in the Capitol in 2018
Hoping for change: Jenna, who has three children, stressed that this is ‘not the America that we want our kids to know,’ but she believes the county can and will come together
‘The violent assault on the Capitol — and disruption of a Constitutionally-mandated meeting of Congress — was undertaken by people whose passions have been inflamed by falsehoods and false hopes.
‘Insurrection could do grave damage to our Nation and reputation. In the United States of America, it is the fundamental responsibility of every patriotic citizen to support the rule of law.’
Bush ended his statement with a message to the rioters, writing: ‘To those who are disappointed in the results of the election: Our country is more important than the politics of the moment.
‘Let the officials elected by the people fulfill their duties and represent our voices in peace and safety,’ he added. ‘May God continue to bless the United States of America.’
Trump finally accepted his fate just before 4 a.m. on Thursday after Vice President Mike Pence ended his desperate campaign to overturn the election, but he still didn’t properly concede.
Denouncement: All four of the living former presidents have condemned the riots, including Jenna’s father, George W. Bush, the only Republican in the group
Condemnation: Bush released a statement calling the scene at the Capitol ‘sickening,’ saying that ‘this is how election results are disputed in a banana republic’
Instead, he boasted it was the ‘end of the greatest first term in history’ in a tweet from an aide’s cellphone.
The VP brought the gavel down on the Trump coup at 3:41 a.m. Thursday morning and certified President-elect Joe Biden’s win — despite the attempt of scores of Republicans and a violent MAGA mob to overturn it.
After Pence defied his boss to settle the 2020 election once and for all, Trump finally said there would be an ‘orderly transition’ — a hallmark of American democracy he has repeatedly called into question — but still claimed falsely that the election was stolen, despite all 50 states, a series of judges, and now the U.S. Congress dismissing challenges to the result.
Banned from Twitter, the message was sent by Dan Scavino, his golf caddy-turned social media guru.
‘Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20,’ Trump said in a statement that aides posted on Twitter after the president’s account was locked for stirring up violence.
‘I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted,’ Trump said. ‘While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again.’