Michelle Obama on Melania Trump, Inauguration Gift Exchange - Rolling Stone
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Michelle Obama Explains Awkward Inauguration Gift Exchange With Melania Trump

“I’m sort of like, ‘Okay… What am I supposed to do with this gift?'” Obama tells Ellen DeGeneres in her first TV interview since 2017 Inauguration

Just over one year after President Trump’s inauguration, Michelle Obama sat down with Ellen DeGeneres for her first TV interview since leaving the White House to explain the context surrounding a particularly viral moment from that day in Washington, D.C.

“Hey, I have a question and I think a lot of people have the same question,” DeGeneres addressed Obama in an interview set to air Thursday. “So, when the transfer was happening, when Donald Trump and his wife were moving into the White House, there was a gift exchange.”

Obama smiled knowingly at the mention and nodded. “Oh, yeah. The Tiffany’s box.”

At the presidential inauguration last January, with Donald Trump and Barack Obama looking on, Melania Trump presented Michelle with a large blue Tiffany’s box as they headed to the State Capitol prior to the inauguration ceremony. A startled Michelle Obama was caught on camera looking about bewilderedly for someone to take the box before the two couples posed for photos; Barack Obama eventually noticed her predicament and took the box from her.

“So what was in there?” DeGeneres pressed. The former first lady revealed that the Trumps had gifted them with a “lovely frame.”

When DeGeneres rolled a clip of the meme-generating moment, Obama hastened to explain the situation.

“Well, there’s all this protocol. I mean, this is like a state visit, so they tell you that you’re going to do this, they’re going to stand here. Never before do you get this gift, so I’m sort of like, ‘Okay… What am I supposed to do with this gift?'” she said. “And everyone cleared out and no one would come and take the box. And I’m thinking, ‘Do we take the picture with…?’ And then my husband saved the day – see he grabbed the box and took it back inside. But everybody cleared out. No staff, no one. I was like what do you do with the box?”

Watch the hilarious exchange in the video above.

In This Article: Ellen DeGeneres, Michelle Obama


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