Jenna Bush Hager landed a plum job with 'Today,' but presidential offspring often falter in their efforts to establish meaningful livelihoods.
Jeff Christensen/ AP/ File
Wish Jenna Bush Hager well in her new job on TV news. Decoder believes she is going to need all the help she can get. That's not a comment on Ms. Hager's fitness to be a "Today" show contributor. She seems a personable young woman and that might come across well on-screen.
No, we're talking about the difficult relationship between presidential children and employment. Many find it hard to establish an identity and make their own way in the world outside the White House.
Finding a job, per se, isn't the problem, says Mr. Wead, who is the author of "All The Presidents' Children," a history of US first families. Someone is usually willing to offer them a position or a deal in an attempt to trade on their celebrity.
But "first kids" face enormous pressure to live up to their names. Media attention means they can't just endure typical 20-something travails in peace. Remember Ron Reagan Jr.?
Well, today he's dropped the "Jr.," and is a successful cable pundit and talk show host. But before that he got expelled from prep school and dropped out of college before joining the Joffrey Ballet.
"They have a hard time finding the thing it is they really want to do, and the way they want to do it," says Wead.
Ironically, the first son ever to be born to a US president remains one of the most successful. John Quincy Adams, son of John Adams, was an effective secretary of State and was elected president in his own right.
But his oldest son? Hmmm. George Washington Adams was an alcoholic and a womanizer and probably a suicide at age 28.