Jenna Bush Hager is stepping in as Kathie Lee Gifford’s replacement on the Today show, but her mother, former First Lady Laura Bush, isn’t too fond of the day drinking that takes place on the program!
“My mom judges, just so you know. She kind of does,” Bush Hager, 37, told PEOPLE. “But [the wine] is just there as a symbolic thing like, ‘come and sit with us and come hang out with us.’”
Bush Hager will be hosting the Today Show alongside Hoda Kotb, when Gifford leaves in April. When she filled in for the first time for Gifford in 2011, she took a sip to calm her nerves, but her mother reserved her judgment to herself.
Now that Hager will be a regular on the show, her mother has expressed she is not a fan of the show’s tradition to serve alcoholic drinks before noon.
Hager explained that drinking on the actual show is not an everyday thing. The drinks, she says, are meant more to give off a “come and join us, visit our table,” vibe, but as busy women, they may sometimes take a sip.
“There’s days where I have to take my kids to school and work out and do whatever else and have meetings and write a book — whatever. Hoda, too,” Bush Hager told the outlet. “So on some days we have some of it and some days we don’t.
Kotb, 54, added that the wine comes with “deep conversations” and “parties.” “I think there’s just something symbolic about having – inviting someone in that way.”
Last month, Gifford announced that she was leaving Today after a decade of working alongside Kotb.
“Her ratings are getting smaller and smaller. She wants to be remembered as the person who invented ‘Today’s’ fourth hour — not the one that killed it!” an insider revealed at the time.
Readers know that Bush Hager was “livid’ that she hadn’t been given the job immediately after the announcement.
Gifford, 65, however, officially announced her as the replacement on air on Tuesday, February 26th. Staffers celebrated Bush Hager’s new position with glasses of white wine.
“It feels good,” said Bush Hager of new role. “It feels humbling and I can’t believe it.”
As Radar reported, Kotb has no problem with Bush Hager, but was upset about having no say in the decision. “Hoda likes her but it would have been nice to have been asked to make the final decision,” a source told Radar exclusively.
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