On Monday, former first lady Michelle Obama hit out at the size of the inauguration crowd at former President Donald Trump’s inauguration ceremony, noting, “there weren’t many people there.”
The former first lady’s comments come in a preview clip of “Michelle Obama: The Light Podcast,” which debuts Tuesday on Audible, and was shared with People ahead of the release.
In the clip, Obama described the “emotional” day in January 2017 when she and her husband, former President Barack Obama, and their daughters, Sasha and Malia, left the White House for the last time after eight years in office, flying over the scene taking place on the National Mall.
“You walk through the Capitol, you wave goodbye, you get on Marine One, and you take your last flight flying over the Capitol, where there weren’t that many people there — we saw it, by the way!” she said.
Trump famously defended the size of the crowd in attendance at his inauguration following his 2016 win, saying at the time, “We had a massive field of people, you saw that. Packed.” Trump accused the media of lying about the number.
Photos that compared Trump’s inauguration crowd at the National Mall, when compared to the audience at Obama’s inauguration, showed a significantly sparser crowd for the 45th president. However, former press secretary Sean Spicer insisted at his first White House briefing on Jan. 21, 2017, that the “total audience size” was the largest of any president in history.
Kellyanne Conway, one of Trump’s top advisers, got into a heated exchange on the topic the next day on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.” She was asked by moderator Chuck Todd why Trump would ask Spicer to mischaracterize the size of the crowd, to which she responded, “Our press secretary Sean Spicer gave alternative facts.”
In her remarks, the former first lady told NBC’s Hoda Kotb that it was “so emotional for so many different reasons.”
“We were leaving the home we had been in for eight years, the only home our kids really knew,” the mother of two said.
Obama added that she was struck by the lack of diversity at Trump’s swearing-in, saying, “To sit on that stage and watch the opposite of what we represented on display — there was no diversity, there was no color on that stage. There was no reflection of the broader sense of America.”
“When those [Air Force One] doors shut, I cried for 30 minutes straight, uncontrollable sobbing, because that’s how much we were holding it together for eight years,” Obama said.
“Many people took pictures of me and they’re like, ‘You weren’t in a good mood?’ No, I was not!” she added. “But you had to hold it together, like you do for eight years.”
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