WASHINGTON — Former first lady Michelle Obama said she would never run for political office because she “wouldn’t ask my children to do this again.”
In her first speech since leaving the White House, she told an audience at the America Institute of Architecture convention in Orlando that being in the White House was tough on her family.
No cameras were permitted at the speech, where Obama told the audience she can help the country as a private citizen without being in the political spotlight, adding that the vitriol of politics meant that people “thought I was the devil.” Obama said she will continue to work for young girls and women around the world who face challenges with education, medical care, economic inequality and violence.
“It’s good to get out of the house,” she said about being at the event. “(It’s been) so far so good — it hasn’t been that long since we left … it’s good to not have the weight of the world upon your shoulders.”
Obama gave the thousands in the conference hall an inside look what it’s been like for the former first family since leaving the White House.
“Friends are surprised I answer the door now,” she said, adding that her daughters Sasha and Malia can actually their open windows now, something they could never do at the White House. She said the girls once caused a ruckus when they tried to open their bedroom window that faced the public side of the White House because they liked to listen to the protesters. They found it soothing, she said.
Obama said their dogs, Bo and Sunny, never heard a doorbell before because the White House doesn’t have a doorbell.
In their final days at the White House, Obama said her daughters had a slumber party with eight girls — complete with chicken nuggets.
She told the audience the final day was bittersweet because it was place she had lived the longest in her entire life — and her daughters grew up in the White House. Malia and Sasha went out the back door with tears in their eyes while President Donald Trump and Melania Trump came in the front when they moved in.
“I didn’t want to have tears in my eyes for the new President,” she said.
For the most part, former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama have steered clear of the public spotlight since leaving the White House. The two were last spotted earlier this month on a yacht off the island of Mo’orea in the South Pacific.
The Obamas are also busy working on their memoirs after landing a deal with Penguin Random House that could yield them tens of millions of dollars.
The couple plans to live in Washington until their younger daughter, Sasha, graduates high school in 2019.