Politicians become well-known for their policies and the change they promise to create in this world. Whether or not we agree with everything they say or do, we often see them as leaders and yet, seldom as… people. People with families like the rest of us. People with grandchildren — grandchildren who happen to do pretty inspiring things, too.
It’s certainly not easy growing up in the limelight — let alone the political limelight. Politics are so divided these days, but these grandchildren have found their footing and ultimately have gone on to find success in their own ways. While some have followed in their grandparents’ footsteps, paving political careers for themselves, others have moved away from the industry. They’re speakers, journalists, and so much more.
Wherever you stand on the political spectrum, the bond between grandparents and grandkids is special. Take a look at some of the stunning grandchildren of politicians.
Jimmy Carter’s grandson Jason Carter is also a politician
Jimmy Carter served as the 39th president of the United States from 1977 to 1981. But there’s a whole lot more to his story. While being the president of the United States is a huge responsibility, so is being a grandfather and great-grandfather. Carter and former first lady Rosalynn Carter have four children together, according to Country Living, and his family continued to grow until he had 22 grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He told CNN in a 2015 interview, "We try to hold our family together and just enjoy the family life."
One of Carter’s grandsons, Jason Carter, is also a politician. Jason is a former state senator, who won the Democratic nomination for governor in 2014, according to the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Despite becoming a politician like his grandfather, his journey has looked very different. "It is virtually impossible to fill my grandfather’s shoes," he reportedly said while speaking at the annual Carter Town Hall in 2020, according to The Emory Wheel.
George H.W. Bush’s granddaughter Jenna Bush Hager is a famous face
Former U.S. president George H.W. Bush has a huge family with many members who have gotten involved in politics over the years. The former president’s son, George W. Bush, also went on to become a president, and George W.’s daughter Jenna Bush Hager became somewhat involved in politics, too. Jenna, however, opted to go the journalism route. A co-host for Today, an NBC News correspondent, and an editor-at-large for Southern Living magazine, according to Town & Country magazine, Jenna has cultivated quite the career.
While the rest of the world remembers George H.W. Bush as a president, she remembers him as the love of her grandma’s life. On Today, she said one of the most "profound" times of her life was just after her grandmother passed. "We were just sitting at the dinner table, and he said, ‘Will I always miss her this much?’" she said. "And I said, ‘I don’t know, Gampy.’ He didn’t live that much longer ’cause I don’t think he could without her." She continued, "But I just thought that that was such a beautiful thing, and also a heartbreaking thing, because I couldn’t answer the question."
Joe Biden’s grandkid Naomi Biden is passionate about politics
Joe Biden celebrated his 2020 presidential win against Donald Trump with his grandchildren by his side, according to People. After securing 270 electoral votes, he brought his family, including his grandkids, in for a group hug. His granddaughter Naomi Biden shared a polaroid capture of the moment on Twitter.
Naomi is one of seven grandchildren, and she’s made quite a name for herself as one of Biden’s biggest cheerleaders. Naomi told PBS NewsHour about her grandfather’s decision to run, "He thought we were calling a meeting to discuss whether or not we wanted him [to run for president] but, really, we were calling it to be like, get in that race. Hurry up!"
But Naomi is more than Biden’s granddaughter. She’s named after Biden’s late daughter who tragically died in a car crash with his first wife. And she’s just as passionate about politics as he is. The Columbia Law School grad even joined him on international trips, including to China, Turkey, and New Zealand, when he was vice president, according to Marie Claire.
Nancy Pelosi’s granddaughter Bella Kaufman steals the show
When Nancy Pelosi was sworn in as Speaker of the United States House of Representatives in 2019, she was surrounded by her grandchildren. "I’d like to call my grandchildren up to be here when I take the oath, and any other children who want to join them," Pelosi announced, SFGate reported. "Come on, kids!"
Pelosi went on to share her excitement to "be the woman speaker of the House of this Congress," marking "100 years of women winning the right to vote." Her granddaughter Bella, however, stole the show. When Pelosi got her chance to vote for herself, then-9-year-old Bella, who was holding the politician’s hand at the time, jumped up and down and shouted, "Pelosi!" according to USA Today. You can see a clip of the moment captured and posted on Twitter. She clapped the entire time, barely containing her excitement. Bella stood front and center when the other children came up to join Pelosi, too.
Joe Biden’s granddaughter Maisy speaks highly of him
Joe Biden celebrated his 2020 presidential election win against Donald Trump with his grandchildren, according to People. And it turns out that his granddaughter Maisy was proud of his big win. She helped to encourage him to run for president, and she’s spoken highly of her grandfather.
Maisy spilled the beans on what Biden’s like as a grandfather, whom she calls "pop," in an interview with PBS NewsHour. "He always calls with the same energy, even after he’s just done 15 interviews in a row," she shared. She also joked about his penchant for sneaking ice cream all the time.
Maisy is the youngest of her sisters and attended Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C., where she became close buds with former president Barack Obama’s daughter Sasha Obama. The girls played basketball together in school, according to Today. In fact, the team was once coached by Barack, an avid basketball fan himself.
Zoleka Mandela, Nelson Mandela’s granddaughter, is a voice for the people
You certainly know the name Nelson Mandela — a South African, anti-apartheid political leader and philanthropist. Mandela served as the first Black head of state in the country’s history, as well as the first president of a democratic South Africa from 1994 to 1999, according to the Nelson Mandela Foundation website. The Nobel Peace Prize winner is also the grandfather of Zoleka Mandela, who is responsible for creating a lot of positive change in this world.
Zoleka is the founder of the Zoleka Mandela Foundation, which was established in 2013 in an effort "to educate people about breast cancer, road safety, and social responsibilities." After losing her daughter in a tragic car crash in 2010 and recovering from ensuing issues with her mental health, Zoleka has made it her mission to help prevent accidents like that from ever happening again. A breast cancer survivor who has overcome drug and alcohol addictions and has even built herself back up from sexual abuse, Zoleka is a force to be reckoned with.
That’s why, in 2016, BBC named her one of their top "100 Women."
Joe Biden’s granddaughter Finnegan is a college student
Joe Biden has a whole bunch of grandkids who adore him and how much he calls them all the time. His granddaughter Finnegan admitted in an interview with PBS NewsHour that she doesn’t necessarily have time to pick up his calls every day, but that she has a lot of voicemails from him. According to her and his other granddaughters, Biden is very present and involved.
Finnegan, younger sister to Naomi and older sister to Maisy, is reportedly named after her great-grandmother, Catherine Eugenia Finnegan Biden, according to Town & Country magazine. While Biden’s granddaughter Finnegan has kept a relatively low profile over the years (compared to some of her sisters and other presidents’ family members), she did campaign with him during his 2020 candidacy. Meanwhile, Finnegan herself was busy on her own journey to success as a senior at the University of Pennsylvania, according to Glamour.
Bernie Sanders’ grandson Cole is on social media
Bernie Sanders was the mayor of Burlington, Vt. from 1981 to 1989 and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives "from Vermont’s at-large district" between the years of 1991 and 2007, according to Business Insider. He ran for president in 2016 and 2020, and he resonated with many millennials for his policies, primarily on climate change. Bernie Sanders was somewhat of the "cool old guy" running for president — and his grandkids have made him seem that much cooler. He’s reportedly even made appearances on TikTok, according to Nylon.
That’s right: Sanders’ grandson, Cole, was allegedly posting videos of the former presidential candidate on the platform, under the aptly named handle @berniesandersgrandson. While the TikTok page doesn’t seem to still exist, Cole does appear to have an Instagram page with 79,000 followers, where he posts just as many selfies as the next teen.
George H.W. Bush’s granddaughter Barbara calls him the "center of the family"
"He was reflective about my grandmother and I asked him if his heart was broken and he said ‘yes’ and then he looked at me and he said, ‘Do you think it will feel worse than this?’" she said her grandfather asked her when her grandmother, also named Barbara, had passed away. She knew his heart was broken when he lost the "love of his life," she added. According to Barbara, he was more than a president; he was a loving family man.
Barbara takes after her grandfather with great ambition. In 2020, amidst the novel COVID-19 pandemic, she graduated with a master’s degree from Harvard University (albeit virtually), according to People. Her degree is in Public Administration, and she also has a bachelor’s degree in humanities from Yale University, according to Global Health Corps, a non-profit that supports emerging global health leaders with a competitive fellowship program. Barbara is the co-founder and board chair of the organization.
Joe Biden’s granddaughter Natalie spoke at the 2020 DNC
Joe Biden’s granddaughter Natalie told PBS NewsHour in a sit-down chat with that her grandfather was worried about how the 2020 election would affect his family. He let them know that the 2020 election would be "totally different" than any other election in history (and it certainly was). But his granddaughters practically begged him to enter the presidential race, as they all admitted, and Natalie was one of his biggest cheerleaders.
Natalie is the eldest child of Biden’s late son, Beau, according to Town & Country magazine, and she’s a bit more private than Biden’s other grandkids. Her father tragically died of brain cancer at just 46 years old, before Natalie was even a teenager, The New York Times reported.
Natalie was spotted campaigning alongside her grandfather during the 2020 election, and she even recited the Pledge of Allegiance to kick off the first night of the Democratic National Convention, according to O, The Oprah Magazine.