Former First Lady Michelle Obama sat down with Ellen DeGeneres for her first TV interview since she left the White House and reminded us all why we miss her so much.
In the interview, DeGeneres asked Obama how people could deal with the “very scary” world under President Donald Trump. And, true to form, Obama showed us how to hope.
The former First Lady admitted that there were many people who were scared, but other people don’t see their fears.
“People are afraid,” she said. “But then there are people who feel good about the direction of the country. So that’s what makes this country complicated, because it’s made up of so many different people from different backgrounds. We are this mosh pit of society and sometimes there’s a rub.”
“But the thing that we have to remember, the thing I learned in the eight years that I was in the White House, was that what we do every day in our lives, the good things that we do every day — and we know we do it — we show empathy, we care for each other. We do have a lot in common,” she said. “That’s what it means to lead with hope and not fear. And that’s all we have, is hope.”
–Michelle Obama dishes on awkward Trump gift exchange in first post-White House interview–
Love, hope, and empathy
Mrs. Obama went on to give her advice: no matter how hard it can be, you need to “love each other, to take care of each other, to show empathy.”
“You can’t do that only when people make you feel good or safe. We’ve got to do it all across the board. We have to be an open-hearted nation — and that’s who we are,” she said. “And that’s the truth of who we are, so you can’t lose sight of that. So let’s just keep living our lives like that every single day and forget what they’re saying in Washington. That’s not necessarily who we are. We know who we are and I know who this country is.”
Americans are good people
To back up her advice, she shared her own experiences as first lady, when she would often meet people who vehemently disagreed with her and her husband.
And yet despite those differences, she said, “They were kind, they were hard-working, they were trying to the right things every day. And that’s what we have to remember about each other. That’s who we are.”
You can check out video from the interview down below. And if you’re like us, watching it will just make you miss the days when we had this amazing woman as our First Lady!
Awkward gift exchange with Melania Trump
In addition to debriefing on life after the White House, Ellen asked Mrs. Obama about the awkward exchange between her and the Trumps during last year’s inauguration.
“Hey, I have a question and I think a lot of people have the same question. So, when the transfer was happening, when Donald Trump and his wife were moving into the White House, there was a gift exchange,” DeGeneres says.
“Oh yea…the Tiffany’s box,” Obama responded.
The former first lady went on to reveal that inside the box was a “lovely frame.”
Ellen then tries to dig deeper by showing a video clip of the memorable encounter. The host points out that Mrs. Obama looked visibly confused.
“Well, there’s all this protocol. I mean, this is like a state visit, so they tell you that you’re going to do this, they’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?’” Obama explained.
Obama says she was indeed confused at the moment because no one ever came to take the box from her hands.
“And everyone cleared out and no one would come and take the box. And I’m thinking, ‘Do we take the picture with…?’ And then my husband saved the day — see he grabbed the box and took it back inside. But everybody cleared out. No staff, no one. I was like, ‘What do you do with the box?’”
To preview the “Ellen” episode, Mrs. Obama took to her Snapchat to show some behind the scenes moments during the show’s taping.
The appearance also happens to be for Ellen’s 60th birthday celebration.
Take a look at Obama’s Snapchat photos below.