Laura Bush: Career for first ladies?

Former first lady Laura Bush has raised the question of whether the first lady or first gentleman should have a professional career outside of the White House.

Bush was asked in an interview with C-SPAN whether the first lady should receive a salary. “I don’t think so,” she said, explaining that the role already comes with perks such as access to the White House chef. 

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“The interesting question really is not should they receive a salary but should they be able to work for a salary at their job that they might have already had,” Bush said in the interview, which will air Monday night.

Instead of a career, first ladies generally adopt a mission during their husbands’ administrations. Bush, for example, championed education reform during her husband’s period in office. First lady Michelle Obama started the “Let’s Move!” initiative to help combat childhood obesity.

Bush said if there ever is a female president, the first gentleman would likely work on the side.

“Certainly, a first gentleman might continue to work at whatever he did if he was a lawyer or whatever. And so I think that’s really the question we should ask is should she have a career during those years that her husband is president in addition to serving as first lady.” 

Second lady Jill Biden, the vice president’s wife, teaches English at a community college in Virginia. 

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