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Michelle Obama opens up about awkward inauguration present exchange with Melania Trump

'Never before do you get this gift, so I’m sort of like, ‘OK, what am I supposed to do with this gift?' recounts the former First Lady

Maya Oppenheim
Wednesday 31 January 2018 20:05 GMT
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Michelle Obama reveals to Ellen what Melania Trump gave her as a gift at inauguration

Melania Trump’s decision to give Michelle Obama a surprise gift at the inauguration was deemed one of the most awkward moments of the day.

Ms Obama has now opened up about the occasion and finally revealed what was inside the square, ribbon-wrapped Tiffany & Co box.

In her first television appearance since leaving the White House the former First Lady said Ms Trump’s decision to bestow her with the impromptu present surprised her.

“It was a lovely frame,” Ms Obama said in a preview obtained by People of an interview with Ellen DeGeneres.

As the Obamas greeted Donald Trump and his wife to the White House at his inauguration in January last year, the incoming First Lady handed Ms Obama a surprise gift.

But it was clear Ms Obama did not know what to do with the mystery item as she awkwardly accepted it and looked round for a place to put it while shooting a quick look at the camera.

“You brought a gift!” the First Lady could be heard saying in footage of their encounter.

“I’ll take care of the protocol here,” former president, Mr Obama, said.

Addressing the incident in an interview which airs on Thursday, Ms Obama said: “There’s all this protocol. This is like a state visit. They tell you you’re going to do this, you’re going to stand here.

“Never before do you get this gift, so I’m sort of like, ‘OK, what am I supposed to do with this gift?”

She continued: “Everyone cleared out and no one would come and take the box. I’m thinking, do we take the picture with [it]? Then my husband saved the day. He grabbed the box and took it back inside.”

At the time, footage of the moment was widely shared on social media and users described it as "so awkward" and "cringeworthy".

This is not the first time there has been an awkward incident between Ms Obama and Ms Trump.

In July 2016, it was claimed that Ms Trump may have plagiarised parts of a speech Ms Obama made eight years earlier, with an excerpt almost matching a portion of Ms Obama’s speech verbatim.

Ms Trump visited Ms Obama at the White House just days after Mr Trump won the presidential election and the pair were photographed sitting on golden chairs sipping tea together. After the encounter, Ms Trump denied there was “awkwardness” during the first meeting between the pair.

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