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Michelle Obama gets real about running for office – and has some advice for Melania Trump

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Kayleigh Dray
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We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again; we’d love Michelle Obama to pull a Hillary Clinton and use her experience as a FLOTUS to launch a presidential campaign of her own.

But, despite the fact she already has the full backing of liberals around the world (there’s a reason #Michelle2020 went viral after Trump’s election victory, you know), the First Lady has insisted that she has absolutely no intention of becoming President of the United States of America. Ever.

Bursting bubbles and breaking hearts everywhere, she sat down with Oprah Winfrey for a farewell interview at the White House – and she readily admitted that she wouldn’t ever want to put her family through the stress of becoming the country’s ‘first family’ again.



“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.”

She continued: “People don't really understand how hard this is. And it's not something that you cavalierly just sort of ask a family to do again.”

Michelle went on to reveal that she had given Melania Trump some advice – and told the future FLOTUS that she was just a phone call away if she should ever need her.

“We talked about the kids, you know, but my offer to Melania was, you know, was you really don't know what you don't know until you're here, so the door is open, as I've told her and as Laura Bush told me, and as other first ladies told me.

“So I'm not new in this ‘going high’ thing, I mean I'm modelling what was done for me by the Bushes. And Laura Bush was nothing but gracious and helpful, and her team was right for my team, all throughout this entire eight-year process.”



She continued: "We will do whatever they need to help them succeed. So that's one of the things I said to Melania.

“When you get to a place when you can digest all this, and you have questions – because, you know, you don't have questions the day after the election. It's just sort of like, you're looking around the house and it's like, ‘Well what do you want to know?’ And it's like, ‘I don't know what I should know.’ And I knew that, so my door is open. That was really the nature of the meeting.”

Despite making a conscious decision to ‘go high’, however, Michelle went on to add that “this past election was challenging for me as a citizen. To watch and experience. It was painful.”

Addressing the leaked audio tape between Trump and TV host Billy Bush, which saw them casually talk about kissing and groping women without their consent (“When you’re a star, they let you do it”), Michelle insisted that she still can’t wrap her head around it.

As we all know, the First Lady went on to give an impassioned speech, damning Trump and Bush for their inappropriate and sexist behaviour – comments which she still stands by today.

“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,” she 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 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.”

She added powerfully: “Words matter. What we say, how we behave – we are modelling to the next generation.”

 

Images: Rex pictures

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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