First lady Michelle Obama says she has no plans to run for office after her family leaves the White House.
“I don’t make stuff up, I’m not coy — I’m pretty direct,” Obama told Oprah Winfrey in an interview that aired on CBS Monday night. “If I were interested in it, I’d say it.”
“People don’t really understand how hard this is,” the first lady continued. “It’s not something that you cavalierly just sort of ask a family to do again.”
“When you run, your kids’ lives stop,” she added. “The next family that comes in here, every person in that family — every child, every grandchild — their lives will be turned upside down in a way that no American really understands.”
In an interview with Rolling Stone the day after the election, President Obama had also said his wife “will never run for office.”
“She is as talented a person as I know,” he said. “You can see the incredible resonance she has with the American people. But I joke that she’s too sensible to want to be in politics.”
During her hourlong interview with Winfrey, Michelle Obama said the 2016 election cycle — during which she campaigned for Hillary Clinton — was “challenging” and “painful” to watch.
“You know, this past election was challenging for me as a citizen,” she said. “To watch and experience — it was painful.”
Not that she stayed up to see the result. Obama said she went to sleep on Nov. 8 without knowing the outcome of the election. The next morning, she found out Donald Trump had won.
“I got up and I looked at my iPhone,” she said. “And I saw it.”
The first lady said the mood of the country in the aftermath of Trump’s election is striking.
“We feel the difference now. See, now, we are feeling what not having hope feels like,” she said. “Hope is necessary. It’s a necessary concept, and Barack didn’t just talk about hope because he thought it was just a nice slogan to get votes.”
Still, Michelle Obama — who has offered to help incoming first lady Melania Trump during the transition period — said it’s important that Americans support Trump’s presidency.
“We are going to be there for the next president and do whatever we have to do to make sure that he is successful,” she said. “Because if he succeeds, we all succeed.”