USA First Look

What Michelle Obama said in her final FLOTUS interview

Obama told Oprah Winfrey that she prays that Americans still have hope.

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama walks around the presidential limousine upon arriving at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam on Friday, Dec. 16, 2016, in Honolulu, Hawaii, during her annual family vacation on the island of Oahu.
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Michelle Obama spoke about her husband’s presidency and her hopes and fears for the future in an exclusive, hour-long interview with Oprah Winfrey on Monday.

While the first lady expressed a certain disappointment with the results of the presidential race during the interview, she was careful to remind listeners that both she and President Obama will support President-elect Donald Trump's transition to the White House, even though many politicians did not extend her husband the same courtesy after his election.

"So we are going to be there for the next president and do whatever we have to do to make sure that he is successful because if he succeeds we all succeed," Mrs. Obama told Oprah.

The first lady noted throughout the interview that while she deplored of many of Mr. Trump’s choices and political views, including Trump’s disrespectful “locker room” talk about women, she and her husband plan to do anything they can to help support the new president.

Trump’s visit to the White House late this fall, she told Oprah, was pleasant. Indeed, Mrs. Obama told Oprah that she informed Melania Trump that her doorway was always open for questions.

“My offer to Melania was, you really don’t know what you don’t know until you’re here, so the door is open, as I’ve told her and as Laura Bush told me and other first ladies told me,” Obama said. “We will do whatever they need to help them succeed.”

President Obama dropped in during the interview, offering nothing but praise for his wife and her success as first lady. As an especially active presidential spouse, Mrs. Obama has taken stands on issues from childhood obesity to the treatment of military families.

"We all knew she was brilliant and cute and strong and a great mom," the president said. "But I think the way in which she blended purpose and policy with fun, so that she was able to reach beyond Washington on her healthcare initiatives, on her military family work, was masterful."

Despite her popularity as first lady, however, Mrs. Obama says that she has no plans to run for president in the future. Having a parent in the Oval Office, she says, is hard on children, and she has no desire to subject her daughters to that once again.

All there is left to do, Mrs. Obama told Oprah, is to look to the future and do the best you can for other people. Asked what her "prayer for our country" is, the first lady responded, "It's hope."

"My desire for this country is that we remain hopeful and that we find a place in our hearts to love each other. It's really simple – just opening up our hearts to others, making room," Obama said.

Earlier on, Obama also underscored the importance of being thoughtful and deliberate, particularly in the wake of a divisive presidential race.

"For all the people out there, they have to understand that, as I've said time and time again, words matter," the first lady said. "And they matter most to our kids, our young people. And the words that we say moving forward, all of us, it matters, which is one of the reasons why Barack and I are so supportive of this transition."