- Jenna, 41, opened up her brush with the law on the Today show Friday
- She recalled how she was caught trying to use a fake ID to buy alcohol in college
- Jenna claimed the waitress who reported her was motivated by politics
Jenna Bush Hager has blamed her 2001 underage drinking bust on a waitress who didn’t like her father, but she admitted that trying to use a fake ID as the daughter of then-President George W. Bush was ‘dumb’ on her part.
The Today star, 41, opened up about her brush with the law on Friday’s show, recalling how she and her twin sister, Barbara Pierce Bush, were caught trying to buy alcohol their freshman year of college, just months after their dad was sworn into office.
‘I didn’t actually go to jail. I just was arrested — I wasn’t even arrested,’ she told her cohost Hoda Kotb, who then jokingly asked if she was ‘detained.’
‘I was never detailed,’ she continued. ‘I just got a minor in possession of alcohol when I was 20 years old because I ordered a margarita at Chuy’s with a fake ID.
‘The waitress called me in. She didn’t like my dad. But also, to her credit, that was dumb. I mean, my dad was the president.’
Jenna, who was 19 at the time, was a student at The University of Texas at Austin when she made international headlines for the infraction.
Her sister, Barbara, was visiting from Yale University when they were caught trying to purchase alcohol at Chuy’s, a Mexican chain restaurant.
A manager notified authorities that a group of individuals who did not look 21 were ordering alcoholic beverages.
Barbara had already been served by the time police arrived and was charged with underage possession, while Jenna was rejected for using an ID that belonged to someone else who was of legal drinking age.
Jenna told Hoda that a girl in her sorority had given her the ID to use.
‘Her name was Allison, it was a real ID,’ she said. ‘But they took that thing away from me and [clipped] it up.’
Jenna wrote about the right of passage in her 2017 memoir, Sisters First, which she co-wrote with her sisters.
‘One of the big things to do at the University of Texas at Austin… was for older girls, who had already turned 21, to give the younger ones their IDs. Of course, the reason why you might want an ID before you were 21 was to drink alcohol,’ she explained.
‘When you’re a college student, you are more preoccupied with who’s having a party or who’s playing beer pong than if your fake ID will land you in the tabloids.
‘I never stopped to consider, “Oh, wait a minute, now that my dad is president, people are going to recognize me.”‘
Jenna’s conversation with Hoda about her underage drinking citation came just one day after she accused her Today producers of trying to ‘shame’ her for her past.
She was cohosting Thursday’s show with her sister, Barbara, when they played a game called ‘First Loves’ that wasn’t as innocent as it seemed.
The twins were both caught off guard by a question that alluded to their boozy past.
‘The first cocktail I ever loved… Wow,’ said Barbara, who was filling in for Hoda.
‘I think they’re trying to shame us,’ Jenna chimed in. ‘With our underage drinking, minor possession of alcohol.’
‘Yeah, that was rude,’ Barbara agreed.
Despite the implication, Jenna had no problem answering the question from her producers.
‘I would have to say it was probably a wine cooler,’ she said of the first cocktail she loved.
‘Definitely a wine cooler,’ Barbara replied.
‘Or a Natty Light,’ Jenna added, earning a disgusted groan from the audience.
‘Or, remember there was something called Strawberry Hill?’ Barbara asked. ‘I don’t know if that’s still around, but I liked it — it was all sugar.’
Jenna couldn’t help but note that the sweet wine also ‘made you feel terrible.’