On January 23, former First Daughter Malia Obama flexed her burgeoning political muscle by joining in a protest against the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline. The protest took place at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, and 18-year-old Malia Obama made a splash amongst the other celebrities at the annual independent film festival founded by Robert Redford.
It was the first time that Malia, the eldest daughter of former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama, had appeared in public following her father’s return to the private sector after eight years as POTUS, and she used it to throw some serious shade at Donald Trump.
Malia Obama Joins in Solidarity with Dakota Access Pipeline Protests https://t.co/VZklnKiwM9
— Nancy Watkins (@puffdude5) January 28, 2017
The 45th president used his new position of power to almost immediately revamp the construction of the disputed Dakota Access Pipeline, reports USA Today. Trump did so via an Executive Order that also allowed construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline to reconvene. Just weeks before his second term ended, President Obama’s U.S. Army Corps of Engineers refused to grant a necessary easement required to complete the Dakota Access Pipeline, advising the companies behind the multi-billion dollar project to seek an alternate route.
“Today, the US Army Corps of Engineers announced that it will not be granting the easement to cross Lake Oahe for the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline. Instead, the Corps will be undertaking an environmental impact statement to look at possible alternative routes.”
A route that wouldn’t result in pipeline endangering the water supply of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
Following the decision meted out by the Obama Administration, Energy Transfer Partners (the company behind the pipeline) vowed that it planned to finish the construction of the project as planned, adding that the corporation would be waiting out the Obama Administration for the blessing of Donald Trump.
That’s precisely what Energy Transfer Partners did, and Trump disappointed activists and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe by using one of the earliest days of his presidency to give the project the green light almost as soon as Barack Obama vacated the White House.
Malia Obama attended an event supporting the protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline. – https://t.co/s3CM0i468g
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) January 28, 2017
Apparently, Trump was unaware that Barack isn’t the only Obama with an aversion to the Dakota Access Pipeline. Malia Obama thrilled anti-DAPL activists when she made a surprise appearance at their Sundance protest as her famous family vacationed in Palm Springs. In fact, Malia Obama was so low-key and dedicated to the cause of protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline’s completion that her appearance at the event almost went unnoticed by the media.
That is until uber-activist Shailene Woodley broke Malia’s cover in an interview with Democracy Now. Woodley, who has been part of the protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline for months and who was even arrested for her activism in October, spoke to the outlet about how “touched” she was to see Malia Obama at the protest, reports Fox News Insider.
@USATODAY Great to see her being passionate about human rights! ????????
— Nancie Jimenez (@Jimenez2Nancie) January 28, 2017
— DB☮♥⚯͛ImWithHer???? (@DC4Hope) January 28, 2017
@Impeach_D_Trump The apple doesn't fall far from the tree! She would make any parent proud!
— Sarah Jean Provost (@SarahJeanProvo2) January 28, 2017
— Carol Marie (@NastyCarol3) January 28, 2017
“It was amazing to see Malia, President Obama’s daughter. Also, to witness a human being and a woman coming into her own outside of her family and outside of the attachments that this country has on her, but someone who’s willing to participate in democracy because she chooses to, because she recognizes, regardless of her last name, that if she doesn’t participate in democracy, there will be no world for her future children.”
Woodley’s commentary on Malia Obama wasn’t the first time since Trump’s Executive Order that the Divergent actress has spoken out about the newly-reborn Dakota Access Pipeline. Almost immediately following Trump’s announcement that he was giving the protest-inspiring pipeline his blessing, Woodley vowed to mobilize protesters to prevent the project from being completed as planned.
“This pipeline would be built underneath the Missouri river. As we know, it’s not a matter of if pipelines leak, it’s a matter of when pipelines leak. And when this one leaks, it would affect the drinking water of 18 million people, not only Standing Rock Sioux tribe in North Dakota [and] South Dakota, but millions of people down river as well.”
— Complex (@Complex) January 28, 2017
In addition to showing Trump that her dad is not the only Obama with a “liberal agenda” by participating in the protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline, Malia Obama has plenty on her current to-do list. Most pressingly, the budding young political activist will be beginning an internship with the Weinstein Company in February before beginning her Harvard education this fall.
Until then, nobody knows if Malia Obama will be continuing to forge her position as a public figure by attending more Dakota Access Pipeline protest events.
[Featured Image by Danny Moloshok/Invision/AP Photo]