Former First Lady Michelle Obama has struck down numerous calls for her to mount a presidential bid in 2020. During a recent appearance, she explained that she is not interested in the political arena because of how it would impact her children.
On April 26, Obama spoke before the American Institute of Architects convention in Orlando, Florida. It was her first public speech since leaving the White House, and the first time she offered a detailed explanation of why she was not interested in running for public office.
“It’s all well and good until you start running, and then the knives come out,” Obama told the audience, according to the Orlando Sentinel. “Politics is tough, and it’s hard on a family… I wouldn’t ask my children to do this again because, when you run for higher office, it’s not just you, it’s your whole family.”
The former First Lady added that disentangling herself from campaigns would enable her to carry out public service without “the burden of political baggage.”
Obama signaled that she did not enjoy the national spotlight and scrutiny applied to her while her husband, Former President Barack Obama, occupied the Oval Office, CNN reports.
Obama said that during her eight years as First Lady, some people “thought I was the devil.”
Immediately after the election of President Donald Trump, many Democrats have expressed hope that Obama would make a presidential bid in 2020. In December 2016, a USA Today/Suffolk University Poll found that 61 percent of Democrats wanted the First Lady to run for office while only 32 percent were against the idea, USA Today reports.
As early as March 2016, Obama swatted away any suggestion that she would ever consider mounting a presidential campaign.
“I will not run for president,” Obama said during the South by Southwest festival in Texas. “No, nope, not going to do it.”
The day after Trump won the presidency, Mr. Obama himself struck down speculation that his wife would enter the political arena.
“Michelle will never run for office,” Obama told Rolling Stone. “She is as talented a person as I know. 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.”
During her appearance in Orland, the former First Lady reflected on the three months her family had enjoyed since leaving the White House.
“So far, so good,” Obama said. “It hasn’t been that long, really. It’s been less than 100 days. I think everybody’s counting 100 days. We’re counting, too.”
Obama revealed that she felt emotional on the day of Trump’s inauguration because it was her family’s last time at the White House, where her daughters had grown up. The First Lady had kept her emotions in check because she did not want to send the country negative signals.
“I didn’t want to have tears in my eyes because people would swear I was crying because of the new president,” Obama said.
The former First Lady revealed that she would dedicate her energies towards providing education and health care to young women around the world, address violence against women and help plan her husband’s presidential center in Chicago, Illinois.
While Obama asserted that she would never run for office, she added that she would still be dedicated to humanitarian causes.
“Barack and I have been in public service our whole lives,” Obama concluded. “Public service will always be in our blood.”
Sources: CNN (2), Orlando Sentinel, Rolling Stone, USA Today / Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture/Flickr