Laura Bush and Jenna Bush Hager have been resolutely mum on Donald Trump being their party’s presumptive presidential nominee, with both women refusing to say whether they’ll vote for the brash businessman. “I am going to have to take the Fifth on that one, Hager told PEOPLE earlier this month.
But in a new PEOPLE interview to promote the children’s book that the mother-daughter duo wrote together, Our Great Big Backyard, Hager allows that the tone of this year’s campaign is “worrisome” to her, especially considering that the last Republican in the White House – her father, George W. Bush – had a style so different from Trump’s.
Mrs. Bush, asked how parents should talk to their children about the language they’re hearing in this year’s campaign, deflected. “I don’t really know,” she said, turning to Hager. “How do you think I should talk to you?” Then, referring to Hager’s young daughters, Bush added, “Fortunately, Mila and Poppy, they’re out of it. They’re not listening to news.”
Hager ran with that. “Fortunately. But at the same time, it is a little worrisome that there’s such a rhetoric of hate or bullying. I wouldn’t want my children to speak to other kids that way and they’re three.” (Mila is 3; Poppy is 9 months old.)
“You know, we have parents who’ve been nothing but complimentary and kind. And so, if that’s the legacy they leave – you know, treat people with respect – it’s not a bad one.”
“Exactly,” Bush added.
As Trump hammers at Democrat front-runner Hillary Clinton, herself in the small sorority of former first ladies, and makes clear he will use Bill Clinton‘s marital infidelity as a campaign issue against her, PEOPLE asked Bush if it’s fair game for a political wife to be held accountable for her husband’s personal behavior.
“Well, I don’t think that really happens. I don’t think we see that that often, frankly,” the former first lady replied. “But everyone’s fair game in politics. I mean, that’s just the way it works out.”
Is she super-glad not to be in presidential politics any more? “I wouldn’t say super-glad. I had a candidate that was in it. Briefly,” Bush said, referring to her brother-in-law Jeb Bush, who was relentlessly mocked by Trump before dropping out of the race in February.
Hager chimed in that her parents are “still interested” in politics. “They’re just not going to criticize from the sidelines. What’s the point of that?”
For all the personal nastiness of the current political season, Hager isn’t ruling out that someday, one of her daughters will live in the White House where their mother had slumber parties.
“Mila Hager for President 2048!” joked Hager.
“I’m not going to Toddlers and Tiaras my daughter straight into the White House at [age] 3,” Hager continued. “I told my mom the other day, ‘I sure hope I’m not that stage mom that’s like, wanting Mila to live out my Broadway fantasies for me No, I want her to do what makes her happy.”