Former first lady Michelle Obama revealed that she cried for a half hour after she and former President Barack Obama boarded Air Force One upon leaving the White House for the last time.
“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,” the former first lady said during an episode of her latest podcast that was shared with People.
Obama described the roller coaster of emotions she felt on Jan. 20, 2017, after eight years in the White House, noting that it was essentially the only home her children had ever known.
“That day was so emotional for so many different reasons,” Obama said.
“We were leaving the home we had been in for eight years, the only home our kids really knew,” she continued. “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.”
The former first lady also revealed that she was not in good spirits on the day Donald Trump took her husband’s place in the Oval Office, attacking the lack of diversity she noticed when Trump took to the stage.
“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,” Obama said. “There was no reflection of the broader sense of America.”
“Many people took pictures of me and they’re like, ‘You weren’t in a good mood?’ No, I was not! But you had to hold it together like you do for eight years,” she added.
She also took aim at claims Trump made about the size of the crowd at his inauguration, arguing that there “weren’t that many people there.”
“You walk through the Capitol, you wave goodbye, you get on Marine One, and you take your last flight flying over the Capitol,” Obama said. “There weren’t that many people there – we saw it, by the way!”
The former first lady’s feelings about that day were similar to her husband’s, who opened up about his concerns the day Trump took over during a 2017 interview with Prince Harry.
“Well, the first thing that went through my mind was, sitting across from Michelle, how thankful I was that she had been my partner through that whole process,” the former president said, adding that he “had concerns about how the country moves forward but overall there was a serenity there more than I would have expected.”