Could the first White House wedding in a generation be in the offing?
The White House issued a three-sentence statement Thursday announcing the engagement of Jenna Bush, one of President Bush’s 25-year-old twin daughters, to Henry Hager, 29. He’s beginning his second and final year as a graduate student at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business.
Sally McDonough, press secretary for Laura Bush, said she didn’t know when or where the wedding would take place.
“I can tell you that they are happy,” she said of the president and first lady. Jenna Bush and Hager became engaged Wednesday while in Maine visiting the Bush family retreat in Kennebunkport. They’ve been dating for several years.
Hager has Republican bloodlines: His father, John, is a former lieutenant governor of Virginia and assistant Education secretary in the Bush administration. Last month, the elder Hager was elected chairman of the Virginia GOP.
The younger Hager has worked at the White House as an assistant to political strategist Karl Rove.
The last presidential offspring to marry in the White House was Tricia Nixon, who wed Edward Cox in the Rose Garden in 1971.
“Weddings, babies being born — they’re good things” for a White House, says Myra Gutin, a professor at Rider University in Lawrenceville, N.J., who has just completed a biography of Jenna’s grandmother, Barbara Bush.
Gutin says Luci Baines Johnson’s wedding in 1966 provided a bit of rare positive coverage of the Johnson White House during an era of Vietnam War protests.
Jenna Bush graduated from the University of Texas in 2004, then taught at an elementary school in the District of Columbia and worked as an intern with the United Nations Children’s Fund. A book she wrote about a single mother in Panama that grew out of that experience — titled Ana’s Story: A Journey of Hope— is being published next month. She and her mother now are writing a children’s book.