Laura Bush on first family: 'I wish them all the best'

Laura Bush: A passion for helping Afghan women
Laura Bush: A passion for helping Afghan women

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Story highlights

  • Bush said she sympathizes with the scrutiny the first family takes on
  • Regarding sexual assault allegations against George H.W. Bush, she said "he would never hurt anybody"

Washington (CNN)Former first lady Laura Bush said Wednesday that she wishes the newest first family and President Donald Trump's administration success in the White House, telling CNN's Brooke Baldwin she can sympathize with the pressure and the scrutiny that the family is under.

Bush was in Washington and met with Afghan first lady H.E. Rula Ghani to promote their joint effort calling for the advancement of Afghan businesswomen as part the US-Afghan Women's Council. The two co-authored an op-ed for USA Today on the subject in which they called for increased international support for Afghan female business owners.

First family scrutiny

    Speaking at the Afghan embassy in Washington, Bush said she sympathizes with the scrutiny the first family takes on.
    "I know what it's like to live there," she said. "I know how difficult every decision is, what the scrutiny is by everyone that has an opinion. "
    The criticism of the White House's residents is nothing new, she added.
    "Every single person has an opinion on the people who live there, and I'm certainly aware of that," she said.
    "I wish them the very best. That's what every American should wish for the people in the White House since they are our President and first family," she added.
    The former first lady didn't touch on how she feels about the Trump administration's policies during the interview. But Bush and her husband, former President George W. Bush, decided to leave the presidential section of their ballots blank instead of voting for Trump during the 2016 election.
    Earlier this month, George W. Bush delivered a speech in which he condemned bigotry and white supremacy while endorsing policies that run counter to those supported by Trump. He did not mention the current President by name, however.

    Melania Trump

    Bush also said she maintains contact with first lady Melania Trump.
    "I've talked to Melania," she said. "I've been back and had tea with her."
    Bush added that she was welcomed back to the White House by familiar staffers' faces in the Diplomatic Reception Room during her visit -- the chefs, butlers and ushers who were there when she was living in the White House.
    "I just think she's done a lovely job. She's a beautiful woman. She's a wonderful representative for the United States," Bush said.

    Response to allegations against Bush 41

    Asked about allegations by several women who have recently accused Bush's father-in-law, former President George H.W. Bush, of inappropriately touching them, the former first lady called the incidents "very innocent."
    "I'm just sad that we've come to this," Laura Bush said. "That was something that was very, very innocent that he's been accused of. But I know he would feel terrible."
    "He would never hurt anybody," she added.
    Bush, through a spokesman, has apologized for the incidents.
    Bush didn't offer a specific response to the growing movement of women to speak out against sexual harassment, but in regard to her daughters, Barbara Bush and Jenna Bush Hager, she said, "they respect themselves and they expect respect from the people they associate with. And I think that's what American women should do."