Michelle Obama Oprah Interview: The 2016 election "was painful"

Source: AP
Source: AP

First lady Michelle Obama reflected on her time as first lady in an exit interview with Oprah Winfrey that aired Monday night, saying she's proud of her family's legacy in the White House and adding that she won't try to illegitimate President-elect Donald Trump the way Republicans tried to do to her husband when he was elected.

"You know, this, this past election was challenging for me as ... a citizen," Obama told Winfrey in an hour-long interview that aired Monday night on CBS. "To watch and experience. It was painful."

But she offered her help to incoming first lady Melania Trump, and said her husband, President Barack Obama, will do everything he can to ensure a successful transition because, "it is important for the health of this nation that we support the commander-in-chief."

"There were people who did not support his presidency," Obama said of her husband. "There were people in Congress, there were leaders in Congress, who did not support his presidency, which was not something that was good for the country. It was good for politics, but it wasn't good for the country. And that wasn't the right way to approach it."

Source: OWN/YouTube

Obama also discussed the issue of race, telling Winfrey she was surprised at being labeled an "angry black woman" when she entered the White House.

"That was one of those things where you think, 'Dang, you don't even know me,'" Obama said. "You just sort of feel like, 'Wow, where did that come from?' And that's the first blowback because you think, 'That is so not me.' But then you sort of think, 'Well, this isn't about me. This is about the person or the people who write it.'"

Source: OWN/YouTube

She said that characterization said more about the people who defined her that way, saying race in America still plays, "too much of a role in how we see one another."

"It's sad because the thing that least defines us as people is the color of our skin," Obama said. 

The hour-long interview will re-air Wednesday night at 9 p.m. Eastern on OWN.

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Emily C. Singer

Emily C. Singer, née Cahn, is a senior writer for Mic covering politics. She is based in New York and can be reached at esinger@mic.com

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