First lady Michelle Obama gave her final interview to friend and campaign supporter Oprah Winfrey. The special, which aired on Monday night, proved that despite the political differences of the incoming administration, the first lady is going to be a class act until the family’s last day in office.
She shared with Winfrey that she wants to make Melania Trump’s adjustment to her new life and job as easy as possible. Obama gave some sound advice to the incoming first lady when she visited the White House after the election.
“My offer to Melania was, you really don’t know what you don’t know until you’re here, so the door is open, as I’ve told her and as Laura Bush told me and other first ladies told me,” Obama said. “We will do whatever they need to help them succeed.”
There are only four women in the United States — Obama, Laura Bush, Hillary Clinton and Barbara Bush — who understand how Trump’s life is about to change. The unpaid responsibilities of the first lady are an important task, but it’s also a position that faces a lot of criticism and scrutiny.
She said she took the advice of her mother when times got tough in the White House.
“My mother always taught me, ‘Girl, you better keep it moving. You better brush it off,'” she said.
Obama has had to do that time and time again during her husband’s administration. Detractors who might not agree with her politics, while also revealing their own racist tendencies, have often labeled her an “angry black woman.”
“That was one of those things where you just sort of think, ‘Dang, you don’t even know me,’?” she explained. “You just sort of feel like, ‘Wow, where’d that come from?’ … But then you sort of think, ‘This isn’t about me.’ This is about the person or people who write it, you know? That’s just the truth.”
Obama shared that those views are coming out of fear.
“We’re so afraid of each other… Color, wealth, these things that don’t really matter still play too much of a role in how we see one another,” she said. “And it’s sad, because the thing that least defines us is the color of our skin. It’s the size of our bank account. None of that matters.”
Her easygoing style and powerful speeches during Clinton’s recent run for president have people calling for her to run for office someday. Before anyone starts printing up signs and planning rallies, Obama is shutting that thought down now.
When Winfrey asked point blank if she would ever run for office, Obama emphatically stated, “No.”
“If I were interested in it, I’d say it. I don’t believe in playing games. It’s not something I would do, but it also speaks to the fact that people don’t really understand how hard this is,” she said. “It’s not something you ask a family to cavalierly do again.”
It’s that exact understanding of campaign and public life that has Obama extending the olive branch to Trump. She may not be happy that Clinton lost the election, but she is not going to hang the incoming first lady out to dry — she’s there to offer support.
That’s the essence of who Michelle Obama is.
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