Michelle Obama Talks White House Expectations And Donald Trump’s Morals With Stephen Colbert

Former U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama greets people as she signs copies of her new book 'Becoming' during a book signing event at a Barnes & Noble bookstore, November 30, 2018 in New York City.
Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Michelle Obama has given the public more insight into her life than ever before with the release of her memoir, Becoming. Not only does she share some secrets in the book, but she also has been divulging new information about being first lady in various interviews during her press tour. According to People, her appearance on the Late Show With Stephen Colbert was no exception to this pattern. Obama spoke of the pressure to be perfect and the responsibility of being a role model on Colbert’s show on Friday, November 30.

“When you’re the first of anything the bar feels higher,” she explained. “You don’t have room to make mistakes. One of the things I don’t talk about in the new book, but I talk about on the road, is that I do remember at the end of that last flight that we took out when I was leaving from the capitol, we waved and got on Air Force One for the last time … I cried for about 30 minutes. It was just the release of eight years of feeling like we had to do everything perfectly. That there wasn’t a margin for error. We couldn’t make mistakes. We couldn’t slip, our tone had to be perfect. That was the bar that was set for us.”

Colbert, not wanting to beat around the bush, asked Obama how it felt “to see the next occupant of the oval office who seems indifferent to that responsibility?” Obama responded that she felt she made her position clear during a speech she made at the 2016 convention, where she gave her iconic “when they go low, we go high” quote.

“The question we have to ask ourselves is, how does the country feel about it? I don’t think it matters how I feel about it,” she said. “I felt torn about it since the day I watched it happen. The country has to ask itself, what do we want, what is the bar we are setting for ourselves? … What kind of moral leadership do we demand in the White House? Regardless of race, regardless of party, regardless of gender, regardless of where you are: what do we want our president to look like? How do you want him to act. If we vote for one set of behavior, then that’s obviously what we want, until we vote differently.”

While Obama isn’t always blunt about her feelings on Trump, she’s certainly never subtle. During a stop for her stadium tour to promote her book on Thursday, Obama pointed out the extra pressure she and her husband felt, since being the first African-American couple in the White House put them under even more scrutiny. Obama mentioned specific things her and her husband had to keep in mind, like their language, and how children would interpret their comments. She also revealed that they considered things like how much time they were spending golfing, and that they would never be able to get away with having anyone in their administration indicted, unlike our current president.

“We had to be highly ethical. We showed our taxes, we divested our money,” Obama said. “This isn’t shade. This is just the sort of stuff we had to think about doing. This isn’t shade, it’s truth!”