Former first lady Michelle Obama appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert Friday as part of her Becoming book tour, where the conversation ranged from how she adjusted to living in the White House under Secret Service protection to how Barack proposed (it was during a fight).
During the interview, which was shortened for broadcast but posted in full on YouTube, Obama spoke of the pressure she felt to be perfect during her husband’s tenure, considering he was America’s first black president. “We couldn’t afford to make a mistake, we couldn’t afford to look cavalier, we had to watch our language. We had to speak carefully and intelligently and clearly and we couldn’t just say things off the cuff.”
Although she did not mention President Donald Trump by name, Obama made clear the contrasts between her husband’s administration and the current one: “There wasn’t any room for anybody in our administration to be indicted… We had to be highly ethical. We showed our taxes, we divested our money. This isn’t shade. This is just the sort of stuff we had to think about doing. This isn’t shade, it’s the truth!”
Obama also said the years of pressure were so stressful, she felt a sense of relief when they left the White House for the last time as president and first lady, telling Colbert, “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 the release of eight years of feeling like we had to do everything perfectly. We couldn’t slip, our tone had to be perfect. That was the bar that was set for us.”
Speaking of the upcoming 2020 presidential election, the former first lady said America needs to decide what kind of leader we want and encouraged people to vote: “It doesn’t matter what you or I think at this point. It’s up to the voters now to figure out what kind of moral leadership do we demand in the White House, regardless of party, regardless of race, regardless of gender, regardless of wherever you are. What do we want our president to look like? How do we want them to act? And if we vote for one set of behavior, that’s obviously what we want until we vote differently.”