Barack Obama pays touching tribute to 'best friend' Michelle Obama in farewell speech

'You made the White House a place that belongs to everybody,' says the President

Katie Forster
Wednesday 11 January 2017 09:15
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Barack Obama pays tearful tribute to wife Michelle in farewell address

Barack Obama has delivered an affectionate tribute to his wife and “best friend” Michelle Obama in his final address to the American people.

In an emotional farewell speech before Donald Trump assumes office next week, the President thanked Ms Obama for making the White House “a place that belongs to everybody”.

“Michelle LaVaughn Robinson, girl of the South Side. For the past 25 years you have not only been my wife and mother of my children, you have been my best friend,” he said.

The lawyer and First Lady attended the address in Chicago with 18-year-old daughter Malia as Mr Obama thanked his family for the sacrifices they had made to allow him to follow his political dreams.

The President said being father to his daughters Malia and Sasha, who had worn “the burden of years in the spotlight so easily”, was the thing he was most proud of in his life.

He spoke of the pride Ms Obama had inspired in him and people across the US during her eight years as First Lady.

“You took on a role you didn’t ask for, and you made it your own, with grace and with grit and with style and good humour,” he said.

“You made the White House a place that belongs to everybody. And a new generation sets its sights higher because it has you as a role model.

So, you have made me proud and you have made the country proud.”

Mr Obama gave a forceful speech amid an a corrosive political climate as President-elect Trump prepares to take office.

Mr Trump campaigned on overturning many of the progressive policies the President enacted – the first of which being the Affordable Care Act; the fate of immigration, environmental, and women’s issues hang in the balance.

Ms Obama delivered her final remarks as First Lady last week, making an emotional defence of the nation's diversity and telling her young audience "the country belongs to you".

Speaking at the White House during an event to honour school counsellors, she said she hoped she had made people proud.

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