Monday, April 10, 2023

President George W. Bush's son-in-law saved the life of a choking victim! Or did he? No one's talking

From Jenna Bush Hager reveals husband Henry saved woman’s life while choking at restaurant: ‘My hero’ by Lindsay Lowe,, March 9, 2023:

Jenna Bush Hager is calling her husband a “hero” after he jumped into action to save a woman’s life.

The incident occurred Wednesday night when Jenna and her husband, Henry (Hager), were having a quiet dinner at a restaurant with Henry’s mom.

Jenna said she was sitting with her back to the restaurant, while Henry sat facing outward.

“All of a sudden, he says, ‘That woman is choking!’” Jenna said. “He gets up, he runs over, and he gives a woman the Heimlich maneuver for, it felt like it was 10 minutes.”

Jenna said some other people came over to help as Henry continued to try to save the woman.

“He continued, and other men were helping him, and I could tell he thought it wasn’t working, and he was saying, ‘Guys, keep going, keep going, keep going!’” Jenna said. “And she survived. 911 arrived.”

For the past month I've tried to verify Ms. Hager's story by sending a couple dozen emails and leaving messages for various parties: Mr. Hager, senior producers at the Today Show, NBC's head of publicity; and the George W. Bush Presidential Center.

Henry C. Hager 

I simply asked for basic facts: the name and address of the restaurant; the date of the alleged incident; whether the Hagers knew the name of the alleged choking victim; whether they took selfies with anyone at the scene; and if they knew the name of the EMS crew that arrived.

The result was deafening silence - including from Ms. Lowe, the writer who bylined the item. (Page down for the unanswered DMs I sent her.)

The only response came from Andrew Kaufman, Director of Communications and Marketing at the Bush Center: 

Unfortunately, the best way to reach the Hagers are the methods you used – my powers are limited there.

Did the incident really happen? If not, it wouldn't be the first time a celebrity may have fabricated a dramatic choking rescue. 

For example, in 2012 here's what country star Luke Bryan told People Magazine:

I had a friend do the Heimlich on me last Monday in a pizza restaurant. It was pretty freaky there for about 30 seconds. A piece of flatbread pizza flaked off and got lodged in my airway, and I went down. He picked me up and got it out of there!

As Sidebar readers know, I reported a string of stories about my unsuccessul efforts to verify his claim.

The Bryana and Hager stories story raise an interesting point.

When a celebrity makes a dramatic, newsworthy claim on national television, do they have a responsibility to back it up?

As you might guess, I think they do. 

But I don't have the clout to compel powerful, connected people to respond to my questions. 

If someone out there does have the requisite swat and the Hagers (or Bryan, for that matter) provide the information I requested, I'll update this item with gratitude and without hesitation.