Obama opens up about Malia and Sasha marching in Black Lives Matter protests

His daughters "found their own ways to get involved with the demonstrations and activism that you saw with young people this summer," Obama said.

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Former President Barack Obama disclosed that former First Daughters Malia and Sasha Obama participated in protests last summer following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

In an interview with People magazine, Obama said the two felt “the need to participate” in the protests that erupted last summer after the public killing of Floyd and the death of Breonna Taylor in 2020 at hands of Louisville, Kentucky officers. 

This November 2015 photo shows then-President Barack Obama buying ice cream for First Daughters Malia (left) and Sasha (right) at Pleasant Pops in Washington, D.C. during Small Business Saturday. (Photo by Aude Guerrucci-Pool/Getty Images)

“I didn’t have to give them a lot of advice because they had a very clear sense of what was right and what was wrong and [of] their own agency and the power of their voice and the need to participate,” Obama said. “Malia and Sasha found their own ways to get involved with the demonstrations and activism that you saw with young people this summer, without any prompting from Michelle and myself, on their own initiative.”

He made clear the young women “didn’t do it in a way where they were looking for limelight.” He didn’t disclose where they marched or in what type of events the two participated. However, he added, “I could not have been prouder of them.” 

People is due to feature what it calls a “wide-ranging” interview and cover story of the former president in which he maintains that he doesn’t foresee Malia or Sasha entering the political arena, saying instead that he thinks they will both be “active citizens.” 

“They’re reflective of their generation in the sense they want to make a difference, and they think about their careers in terms of: How do I have a positive impact? How do I make the world better?” says Obama. “What particular paths they take in doing that, I think, are going to change and vary between the two of them.”

The still-popular Obama said he believes his daughters’ generation is more focused on helping others than finances or perks of a job. “And these kids are really focused on — how can I do something that I find meaningful, that resonates with my values and my ideals? And that I think is an encouraging sign for the country.”

The new People issue hits newsstands tomorrow. 

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