The Story Behind The Bush Twins' Strangest Nicknames
Like many Southern families, the Bush family has a way with nicknames. Jenna Bush Hager and her twin sister Barbara Bush referred to their grandmother, former First Lady Barbara Bush, as "The Enforcer" due to her no-nonsense approach to Southern etiquette.
Of course, Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Bush couldn’t escape their childhoods without earning their own funny family names, too. “They called me Benny as a little girl,” Jenna told Today.
She explained that the nickname came about thanks to a stranger who believed she and her twin sister were boys. “Somebody came up to my parents and said, ‘What cute boys.’ And my parents were the type that just played along with everything. And they were like, ‘They are cute!’” she said.
As Southerners, the Bushes knew that being polite couldn’t hurt, so when the inquisitive stranger asked about the “boys” names, instead of correcting them, George and Barbara just went with it. “They were like, ‘This is Benny and this one’s Beauregard,” Jenna explained, laughing.
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George and Laura Bush liked the names so much—and thought it was such a good joke—that they just kept calling the girls by the names. Soon, Benny and Beauregard were added to the growing collection of quirky family nicknames. The names were used so often that as a child Jenna never questioned it. “I thought my name was Benny,” she said, adding that she used to call her sister “Beaugie.”
Of course, turnabout is fair play, so when Jenna grew up, she made sure that the family tradition continued. The twins’ children gave their grandparents, former President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush, their own adorable yet hilarious nicknames. The children reportedly call them “Jefe” and “Mimi Maxwell,” which are both somewhat inscrutable, yet entirely fitting, and downright hilarious.