Michelle Obama says Americans will miss having a ‘grown-up’ in the White House

In interview with Oprah Winfrey, Obama says ‘people will come to appreciate’ her husband’s presidency

The Associated Press
Posted: Dec 16, 2016 9:39 PM ET
Last Updated: Dec 16, 2016 9:39 PM ET

Michelle Obama said the White House needs a “grown-up” and the U.S. will come to appreciate President Barack Obama.

In an interview with Oprah Winfrey set to air Monday night, Obama said the election has reinforced her view that her husband’s administration was able to inspire hope “because we feel the difference now.”

“Now we’re feeling what not having hope feels like,” she said. “You know? Hope is necessary. It’s a necessary concept. And Barack didn’t just talk about hope because he thought it was just a nice slogan to get votes.

“What do you give your kids if you can’t give them hope?” she added.

Obama sat for the interview five weeks after the election of Donald Trump. The Obamas campaigned aggressively against Trump and argued that the New York businessman is unfit to be president.

CBS released an excerpt of the interview on Friday. In it, Obama does not mention the incoming president by name.

While the president has refused since the Nov. 8 election to repeat his criticisms of Trump, his wife comes off as less accepting of the outcome.​

‘All of this is important for our kids’

In the interview, which was taped Wednesday in the White House residence, the lawyer and Harvard graduate said the public will eventually appreciate what a reassuring presence her husband was over the past eight years. She compared him to the person who doesn’t freak out when a toddler bumps his head, causing the child to start crying.

“I feel that Barack has been that for the nation in ways that people will come to appreciate,” she said. “Having a grown-up in the White House, who can say to you in times of crisis and turmoil, ‘Hey, it’s gonna be OK. Let’s remember the good things that we have. Let’s look at the future. Let’s look at all the things that we’re building.”

“All of this is important for our kids to stay focused and to feel like their work isn’t in vain, that their lives aren’t in vain,” Obama added. “What do we do if we don’t have hope, Oprah?”