Cry Your Eyes Out At Michelle Obama’s Speech At The Unveiling Of Her and Barack’s White House Portraits

It’s hard to believe that Barack and Michelle Obama haven’t been in the White House since 2017, at least together, but then again, their successors were never about to invite them over. (Besides, she’s been busy writing bestsellers and he’s been recording podcasts with Bruce Springsteen.) Just as the fortunes of the Trumps seem to be finally falling, the Obamas returned to their former home, where they oversaw the unveiling of their official White House portraits. They both gave speeches, of course, and though Barack has given more than his share of stirring addresses, this time it was Michelle who made everyone cry.

Michelle told the crowd that, even after some 13 years, it’s “still a bit odd for me to stand in this historic space,” especially now with what she described as “this big beautiful painting staring back at me.”

She then reflected on the unexpected events that led her to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. “Growing up on Euclid Avenue…I never could have imagined that any of this would be part of my story,” Michelle told the crowd. “Even if it’s all still a bit awkward for me, I do recognize why moments like these are important, why all of this is absolutely necessary. Traditions like this matter, not just for those of us who hold these positions, but for everyone participating in and watching our democracy.”

She continued: “You see the people, they make their voices heard with their vote. We hold an inauguration to ensure a peaceful transition of power. Those of us lucky enough to serve, work, as Barack said, as hard as we can for as long as we can – as long as the people choose to keep us here. And once our time is up, we move on, and all that remains in this hallowed place are our good efforts and these portraits.

“So for me, this day is not just about what has happened,” MIchelle said. “It’s also about what could happen because a girl like me, she was never supposed to be up there next to Jacqueline Kennedy and Dolley Madison. She was never supposed to live in this house, and she definitely wasn’t supposed to serve as first lady.”

Michelle’s passionate speech left the crowd chocked up. As for the paintings, the one depicting her shows her seated on a red setee in a blue dress. It was painted by Sharon Sprung in what she described as “contemporary realism.” The one of Barack is a bit different: It was painted by Robert McCurdy, and it is more in the vein of photorealism.

You can watch both Obamas’ speeches in the video above.

(Via The Wrap)