Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey came full circle Monday, with Obama’s final extended interview as first lady airing with the legendary talk show host eight years after Obama’s first sit-down with Winfrey in the White House.
In the hourlong interview between the Chicago native and the Chicago transplant, the first lady emphatically said she has no plans to run for elected office and discussed what irks her about President-elect Donald Trump — without ever mentioning Trump by name.
She also said the election has reinforced her view that her husband’s administration was able to inspire hope “because we feel the difference now.”
The exchange about “hope” came about two-thirds of the way through the interview, broadcast on CBS, and shortly before President Barack Obama made a brief cameo.
“Now we’re feeling what not having hope feels like,” the first lady said. “Barack didn’t just talk about hope because he thought it was just a nice slogan to get votes. I mean, he and I and so many believe that if you . . . what else do you have if you don’t have hope?”
Early on, the two discussed the dramatic “shaken-me-to-my-core” speech the first lady gave about Trump back in October, when a 2005 video of Trump surfaced in which Trump discussed grabbing women — an exchange Trump later dismissed as “locker room talk” between himself and TV host Billy Bush.
“You know, to have a candidate for the presidency speaking in such terms about women, as I said, was not — it was not a normal thing,” Obama told Winfrey. “So my response, you know, in light of what I was seeing from my female staff, what I was hearing from my daughters, their reaction to it, for me required a different kind of response.
“You know, you can’t just stand before people and just give a regular political speech. . . . Something that Barack and I have always tried to be, in this office, is honest. . . .
“A lot of people had been shaken to their core. And still are. They are still feeling the reverberations of that kind of caustic language.”
Later in the interview, the first lady dismissed any talk that she has plans to run for elected office. “No, no,” Obama replied, responding to Winfrey’s question about whether she’d ever run for anything.
“The next family that comes in here, every person in that family, every child, every grandchild, their lives will be turned upside down in a way that no American really understands,” Obama explained. “And it’s not for us to complain about it. So you don’t hear complaints. But it is a — a truth, an actuality, that there is a weight to it.”
“So the Democratic Party has not asked you to run for anything?” Winfrey asked.
“No,” Obama replied.
On a lighter note, the first lady affirmed that the family would stay in Washington immediately after her husband leaves office, though first grandmother Marian Robinson, who moved into the White House in 2008 to help care for granddaughters Sasha and Malia, will be coming back to Chicago, apparently as soon as she can.
“She’s going back to Chicago. She’s, like, ‘bye, Felicia,'” Michelle Obama joked about her mom. “Grandma is done.”
And the soon-to-be former first lady did say she was open to “glamping” — glamorously camping — at national parks with Winfrey and the former talk show host’s close friend Gayle King. Oprah, Michelle Obama insisted, must cook.
“We can promote the national parks. Yosemite is beautiful. We’re on,” Michelle Obama said. “I would love to do that.”
“Don’t think I’m not calling you,” Winfrey replied.