While millions of Americans stayed up to watch the results of the election on November 8, outgoing first lady Michelle Obama was fast asleep, according to a new joint interview the first couple gave to People magazine.
“I went to bed. I don’t like to watch the political discourse; I never have,” she told People, adding in reference to President Obama, "I barely did with him."
Although she was one of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's most outspoken and effective surrogates throughout the general election campaign, Michelle Obama was detached from the surprise finish, which saw Republican Donald Trump win an electoral college victory over her preferred candidate.
“Anything that I felt about the election, I said and I stand by,” she said. “Once you do what you can do, then the rest is easy. It was in the hands of the American people.”
Her more sanguine remarks are a far cry from comments she made during the heat of the campaign, when she went so far as to suggest that then-GOP nominee Donald Trump was "threatening the very idea of America itself" by raising doubts about whether the vote was rigged prior to Election Day.
Curiously, the first lady never mentioned Trump by name then or throughout the race, but her allusions to the "birther" movement he championed and her statements decrying sexual harassment and assault after a leaked 2005 recording heard Trump bragging about grabbing and kissing women without their consent, left no doubt about who she was criticizing.
Michelle Obama's active role in the 2016 campaign was fairly unprecedented in American history. While first ladies like Lady Bird Johnson and Nancy Reagan have stumped for their husbands in the past, Michelle Obama went above and beyond for a former foe, Hillary Clinton, and thrust herself, albeit reluctantly, into the political conversation.
Her "when they go low, we go high" theme, first delivered in a widely hailed address at the Democratic National Convention this summer, galvanized voters and started whispers about a future for the first lady as a political candidate herself.
But as far as the first couple is concerned, all that 2020 chatter is not just premature, but plain wrong. President Obama told Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner late last month that his wife would "never" run for office.
“She is as talented a person as I know,” the president said. “You can see the incredible resonance she has with the American people. But I joke that she's too sensible to want to be in politics.”
In her remaining days in office, she and her husband have pledged to do all they can to make their transition out of the White House as smooth as possible.
“This is our democracy, and this is how it works,” she told People. “We are ready to work with the next administration and make sure they are as successful as they can be. Because that’s what’s best for this country.”