Next month, President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and their daughters, Malia and Sasha, will leave the White House after a historic eight years as America’s first African American First Family.
PEOPLE magazineshared portions of a joint interview with Mr. and Mrs. Obama on how their daughters will transition to life after their father’s presidency, and the first ladybreaks her silence on President-elect Donald Trump’s win.
“What was election night like for you” PEOPLE’S national political editor asks the first lady in a video interview.
“I went to bed,” she responds. “I don’t watch debates. I don’t like to watch the political discourse; never have.” Adding of President Obama, “I barely did with him.”
She continues, “Once you do what you can do then you rest easy. It’s in the hands of the American people. I think anything that I felt about the election, I said. And I stand by. This is our democracy. And this is how it works.
“And so, we are ready to work with the next administration and make sure that they are as successful as they can be; because that’s what’s best for this country.”
The first lady was a powerfulsurrogate forthe Democratic candidate, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, on the presidential campaign trail. During her speeches, Obama never mentioned Trump by name, but she effectively communicated her thoughts on hisrhetoric.
In October, her emotional speech at Clinton’s rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, denounced Trump’s behavior toward women. It has been called a defining moment of the presidential campaign.
“I can’t believe that I’m saying that a candidate for President of the United States has bragged about sexually assaulting women,” Obama said. “I cannot stop thinking about this. It has shaken me to my core in a way that I couldn’t have predicted.”
The first ladycommented that what was occurring in Trump’spresidentialcampaign was distorted politics.
“This is not normal,” she said. “This is not politics as usual.”
She also addressed the “hateful language about women”:
“Here I am, out on the campaign trail in an election where we have consistently been hearing hurtful, hateful language about women language that has been painful for so many of us, not just as women, but as parents trying to protect our children and raise them to be caring, respectful adults, and as citizens who think that our nation’s leaders should meet basic standards of human decency.”
During a speech a the Democratic National Convention in July, and in her commencement address at The City College of New York’s (CCNY) graduation in June, Obama also warnedof the perils of Trump’s political rhetoric, also without mentioning his name.
Malia and Sasha Obama
“They’re ready to get out, just out from their parents’ house,” President Obama says in the PEOPLE video interview. “The fact that their parents’ house is the White House may add to it. But Malia’s going off to college. She’s a grown woman.”
But the first lady adds, “I don’t know about that. She’s still a baby.”
The president agrees, “She’s still our baby.”
Their eldest daughter, 18-year-old Malia, is taking a gap year, and will attend Harvard University in the fall. In June, she graduated from Sidwell Friends School, a private school in Washington, D.C.
The Obamas will remain in Washington until their younger daughter, Sasha, 15, finishes at Sidwell. According to The New York Times, President Obama has been preparing for life after his presidency:
“[President Obama] has beenpreparing for his post-presidencywith the discipline and fund-raising ambition that characterized his 2008 campaign.
“The Obamas intend to raise up to $1 billion to fund an endowment for charitable efforts and a presidential library in Chicago.”
President Obama says in the video that both daughters are sentimental about their time living in the White House.
“There’s a sentimentality about this place, that they’ve had so many amazing experiences, and the staff are part of the family,” he says. “It is different for them than for most kids in that when they leave, they won’t be able to come back home in a lot of ways. Malia’s spoken about how she regrets the fact that she won’t have that home base in the same way.”
The president also said he and the first lady question their daughters’ readiness to leave the nest.
“They’re ready to get out of the nest,” the president says. “We don’t think they’re ready, but they certainly think they’re ready.”
In her commencement address at CCNY, the first ladyspoke of the historical significance of her family living in the White House.
“I wake up in a house that was built by slaves,” she said. “And I watch my daughters two beautiful, Black young women head off to school waving goodbye to their father, the president of the United States, the son of a man from Kenya who came here to America to America for the same reasons as many of you: to get an education and improve his prospects in life.”