Appearing on “Today,” Bush Hager remembered honoring her grandfather, former President George H.W. Bush, at the Capitol after his 2018 death as she and co-host Hoda Kotb spoke about Wednesday’s violent siege of Congress.
“I kissed my grandfather goodbye in that rotunda,” she said. “I have felt the majesty of our country in those walls and nobody can take that from any of us.”
Growing visibly emotional, the daughter of former President George W. Bush did not mention President Donald Trump by name in the chat, but nonetheless went on to denounce “the words of leaders who do not reflect our country.”
“What was so hard for so many of us that have grieving hearts is these images are not our America,” the mother of three said. “This is not the America that you know. This is not the America that I know. It is not the America we want our kids to know.”
Bush Hager’s remarks came a day after her father expressed his “disbelief and dismay” at the attempted coup.
“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,” he said in a statement. “Let the officials elected by the people fulfill their duties and represent our voices in peace and safety.”
(Bush rose to the presidency via the contested 2000 election, which partly hinged on a recount in Miami that was shut down by a Republican-organized mob in the so-called Brooks Brothers riot.)
Lawmakers were forced to shelter in place Wednesday when a Trump-supporting mob ― egged on by the president at a rally hours earlier ― stormed the Capitol in an effort to overturn the formal certification of the 2020 election results. The ensuing violence left four people dead and dozens of police officers injured.
For her part, Bush Hager felt optimistic after “seeing people that represent the good” come forward in the aftermath of the riots.
“We have an opportunity,” she said. “I have faith that our country will be better.”