After Donald Trump’s seismic victory, talk of whether Michelle Obama would run for president dominated discussions. Bolstered by consistently high popularity ratings and applauded for her barnstorming speech against the now-President-elect, the First Lady became one of the most popular figures of the 2016 election.
But Ms Obama has now made it clear she will not be running for office. In an extensive interview with Oprah Winfrey, she said she would not put her family through more time in the spotlight.
Referring to the rumours, she said: “I think some people think it's serious, but some people are just hopeful.”
“I don't make stuff up, I'm not coy. I'm pretty direct. If I was interested in it, I would say. I don't believe in playing games.”
Ms Obama said eight years in the White House had been long enough and she did not want to force her children to be faced with more sacrifices.
“This is hard, it's a hard job … When you run, your kids lives stop”.
“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,” she said.
“And it's not for us to complain about it, so you don't hear complaints, but it is a truth, an actuality, that there is a weight to it”.
Barack Obama has previously denied that his wife would run for office, saying she did not “have the patience or the inclination to actually be a candidate herself”.
In the one-hour interview which was broadcast on Monday night on CBS, Ms Obama also expressed her surprise at being referred to as an “angry black women” during her husband’s 2007 presidential campaign.
“That was one of those things where you think, ‘Dang, you don’t even know me,’” she said. “You just sort of feel like, ‘Wow, where did that come from?’”
“You think, that is so not me! But then you sort of think, well, this isn't about me,” she went on. “This is about the person or the people who write it.”
"We are so afraid of each other, you know?" she said. "Color, wealth, these things that don't matter still play too much of a role in how we see one another. And it's sad, because the thing that least defines us as people is the color of our skin, the size of our bank account. None of that matters."
Ms Obama said she was concerned about the future of America and prayed Americans still have “hope”.
When she was probed about whether her husband’s government achieved “hope”, she said she did but also noted the sharp distinctions between him and his successor President-elect Trump.
“Yes, I do. Because we feel the difference now. See, now we are feeling what not having hope feels like, you know. Hope is necessary. It is a necessary concept. What do you give your kids if you can't give them hope?”
Ms Obama also referred to her meeting with the soon-to-be First Lady Melania Trump, saying that while she did not give her any specific advice, she told her that “the door is always open” and “you really don't know what you don't know until you're here”.
Her husband also made a surprise visit to the interview. When asked about what has surprised him the most about his wife as First Lady, he applauded her expertise for the job. “The way in which she blended purpose and policy with fun so that she was able to reach beyond Washington on her health care initiatives, on her military family work was masterful.”
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