"Our democracy is so much bigger than anybody’s ego.”

By Isabel Jones
Nov 16, 2020 @ 4:09 pm
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Former First Lady Michelle Obama knows what it’s like to have a U.S. presidential election not go the way you had hoped. It happened in 2016. But instead of refusing to accept the results, she and former President Barack Obama welcomed Donald and Melania Trump to the White House, sharing with them lessons they’d learned over the past eight years.

In a candid Instagram post, Michelle explained how she felt during that time, sharing that while she was “hurt and disappointed,” she accepted that “the American people had spoken.”

“My husband and I instructed our staffs to do what George and Laura Bush had done for us: run a respectful, seamless transition of power — one of the hallmarks of American democracy,” she wrote.

Credit: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

Given the breadth and nature of Donald Trump’s attacks on the then-sitting president, welcoming the Trumps with grace was no small feat.

“I have to be honest and say that none of this was easy for me,” Michelle admitted. “Donald Trump had spread racist lies about my husband that had put my family in danger. That wasn’t something I was ready to forgive. But I knew that, for the sake of our country, I had to find the strength and maturity to put my anger aside. So I welcomed Melania Trump into the White House and talked with her about my experience, answering every question she had —from the heightened scrutiny that comes with being First Lady to what it’s like to raise kids in the White House.”

“I knew in my heart it was the right thing to do,” she continued, “because our democracy is so much bigger than anybody’s ego.”

Alluding to President Trump’s refusal to concede the election to its rightful winner, President-Elect Joe Biden, Obama wrote, “The presidency doesn’t belong to any one individual or any one party. To pretend that it does, to play along with these groundless conspiracy theories — whether for personal or political gain — is to put our country’s health and security in danger.”

“This isn’t a game,” she reminded followers as she concluded her note. “So I want to urge all Americans, especially our nation’s leaders, regardless of party, to honor the electoral process and do your part to encourage a smooth transition of power, just as sitting presidents have done throughout our history.”