WASHINGTON - Michelle Obama broke down shortly after leaving then-President Donald Trump’s inauguration, the former first lady candidly shared in a new podcast, as the emotions of leaving their family’s home after eight years and resentment over Trump taking office overwhelmed her. “When those doors shut, I cried for 30 minutes straight, uncontrollable sobbing, because that’s how much we were holding it together for eight years,” Obama said, referring to her final trip aboard the presidential airplane.
The fresh revelation of Obama’s experience came in a clip of her “The Light Podcast,” which launched on Audible Tuesday. The podcast audio comes from the former first lady’s recent book tour for her third book, “The Light We Carry,” which reflects on how she’s dealt with relationships, self-doubt and anxiety during uncertain times. It captures conversations from her visits to six cities with all-star moderators, like Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry, David Letterman and Conan O’Brien to promote and discuss her best-selling book. “After the inauguration – and we know whose inauguration we were at – that day was so emotional on so many different reasons. We were leaving the home we had been in for eight years, the only home our kids really knew,” Obama shared.
“They remembered Chicago but they had spent more time in the White House than anywhere. So we were saying goodbye to the staff and all the people who helped to raise them.” Obama confirmed she wasn’t in a “good mood” but she “had to hold it together.”
“There were tears, there was that emotion. But then to sit on that stage and watch the opposite of what we represented on display – there was no diversity, there was no color on that stage, there was no reflection of the broader sense of America,” Obama said. She also took a jab at her husband’s successor over his inauguration crowd size, a long-running point of contention for the Trump White House which has falsely claimed the turnout was the largest ever. “You take your last flight off, flying over the Capitol, where there weren’t that many people there. We saw it,” she said, which gained laughs from the audience. Promoting the podcast on Twitter Monday, Obama said that she hopes it inspires others to “share your own light.”
In the years since leaving the White House, the former first lady has revealed other tidbits about her mood that day in January 2017, including that she “stopped even trying to smile” during Trump’s inauguration. Speaking to Jimmy Fallon in 2018, she said, “A lot was going on that day,” but as she bid farewell to the White House one thought was clear: “Bye, Felicia!”