ONE of the twin daughters of President George W Bush has spoken of the heartbreak she feels about the Iraq war and the criticism of her father. “He is a totally different person to me than what they portray him as,” said Jenna Bush. “I mean, he’s my dad.”
The party girl who stuck her tongue out at reporters and was charged with underage drinking publishes a book this week called Ana’s Story, about an HIV-positive teenage mother whom she encountered on her travels in Central America with Unicef.
She said she had met Ana and her baby in Panama, where the young woman had declared: “We are survivors.”
Jenna, 25, who is known as the “blonde one” of the Bush twins, has found her sober side. Asked about Unicef’s report that 4m Iraqis had fled their homes since the invasion of Iraq, she said: “Nobody wants war. I definitely, and my father doesn’t want war. But it’s a horribly complicated situation.” She added: “I can say it’s devastating . . . I think everybody can agree on that . . . Obviously, all of this breaks my heart.”
Among the experiences that affected her deeply was visiting wounded veterans of the war with her father. “I’ve gone with him to Walter Reed hospital and I’ve seen his face after he’s left the hospital. He would have to be inhuman not to feel it. I mean, of course things weigh on him. Of course they do.”
Matt Damon, the actor, once suggested the Bush daughters should serve in Iraq, but according to Jenna, it would put too many people in danger. “I hope that I serve by being a teacher,” she said. She worked at a Washington primary school after college.
Jenna is now engaged to Henry Hager, a former White House aide. He proposed to her after a 90-minute hike up a mountain in Maine.
“I did not want to go hiking at 4am in the morning,” she said. “But we got up, and we hiked in the dark . . . and then when we got to the top, with the sunrise, he asked me.”
She remains close to her sister Barbara ï¿½ “We’ve gone through every single thing together, you know, from the womb on” ï¿½ and mother Laura Bush, who helped to correct her drafts.
“Former librarian and schoolteacher,” said the first lady of her involvement in the book. “I couldn’t help it.”
Robert Barnett, the lawyer and agent who acts for Tony Blair and Alan Greenspan, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve, helped Jenna to find a publisher. Profits from the book will go to Unicef.
Ana’s Story offers advice to teenagers about avoiding HIV, which mentions abstinence but says the best way is to “be faithful to your partner and use a condom every time”.