In a rare display of restraint, and perhaps even grace, President-elect Donald Trump praised the Obamas, and first lady Michelle Obama specifically, spinning her recent quote, “Now we’re feeling what not having hope feels like,” as referring to the past.
As reported by The Root on Friday, portions of Obama’s upcoming interview with Oprah Winfrey were released Friday, and in them the first lady reflected on her husband’s legacy of hope.
The first lady said in part, “See, now we’re feeling what not having hope feels like,” ostensibly referring to Trump’s election.
“Barack didn’t just talk about hope because he thought it was a nice slogan to get votes. What else do you have, if you don’t have hope?” Obama asked. “What do you give your kids if you can’t give them hope?”
Trump, speaking Saturday at the final rally of his “thank you” tour in Mobile, Ala., chose to interpret those words in a way favorable to him.
“Michelle Obama said yesterday that there’s no hope,” said Trump. The Associated Press reports that the crowd booed upon mention of the first family. “I assume she was talking about the past, not the future—’cause I’m telling you, we have tremendous hope, and tremendous promise.”
Trump went on to say that Michelle Obama “could not have been nicer” when he visited the White House to meet with President Obama, and doubled down on his disbelief. “I honestly believe she meant that statement in a different way than it came out.”
And then—just to be clear, Trump said, “I actually think she made that statement not meaning it the way it came out, I really do.”
AP reports that Mobile was where Trump began his presidential run, and that the crowd was as frenzied as ever, repeatedly chanting, "Build the wall!" when Trump renewed his vow to build a barrier between the United States and Mexico.
Trump also brought hometown boy, and his nominee for attorney general, Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama onstage to cheers.
And in a colorful display of Southern hospitality, Trump received a water-cannon salute from a pair of fire trucks and was greeted by several Azalea Trail Maids, local teens dressed in antebellum Southern-belle outfits.
Read more at the Associated Press.