Michelle Obama forcefully and passionately warned last year of the dangers of electing Donald Trump. And, for eight years in the White House, she was never shy about her dislike of politics or her resolve to never seek political office herself.
But, within hours of sitting witness to Trump taking the oath of office and then making her post-inaugural getaway to Palm Springs, Calif., Mrs. Obama was on Twitter, promising her followers that she’s only taking “a little break.”
“Will be back before you know it to work on the issues we care about.”
After an extraordinary 8 years, I'll be taking a little break. Will be back before you know it to work with you on the issues we care about. pic.twitter.com/o0ECJitXnw
— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) January 20, 2017
The former first lady’s tweet came amid social-media outrage over how, at the moment Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States at noon on Friday the Trump team assumed control of the WhiteHouse.gov website—and pages on LGBT rights, climate change, health care, and civil liberties disappeared.
That sparked concern about the fate of those issues in the brand-new Trump White House.
— #NotMyPresident (@France4Hillary) January 20, 2017
Mrs. Obama’s promise to be back on the job fighting for her priorities was blasted out with the hour.
Earlier in the day, one steeped in tradition and protocol, Mrs. Obama’s demeanor and emotion were inscrutable as she carried out her duties as outgoing First Lady—hosting the Trumps in the White House Blue Room for tea, sitting on the Capitol steps in a cold rain.
It was a graceful coda to her active role in the transfer of power.
Mrs. Obama served as one of Hillary Clinton’s most powerful surrogates in her presidential campaign, delivering impassioned speeches criticizing Trump — and what she saw as his casual misogyny and bullying — but avoiding saying his name.
Mrs. Obama first broke her silence on Trump’s election night victory to PEOPLE last month, revealing that she went to sleep before the results were announced.
“I went to bed. I don’t like to watch the political discourse; I never have,” Obama told PEOPLE editor in chief Jess Cagle and White House correspondent Sandra Sobieraj Westfall at the time.
“Anything that I felt about the election I said and I stand by,” Mrs. Obama added, also noting of her early election night: “Once you do what you can do, then the rest is easy. It was in the hands of the American people.”
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Despite her campaign-trail criticisms of Trump, Mrs. Obama, like her husband, felt it was important to help Trump in his transition to the White House.
“This is our democracy, and this is how it works,” she told PEOPLE at the time. “We are ready to work with the next administration and make sure they are as successful as they can be. Because that’s what’s best for this country.”