Michelle Obama reflects on 'glorious' inauguration mixed with concern 'about more riots'

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Hannah Yasharoff, USA TODAY
·3 min read
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To Michelle Obama, President Joe Biden's inauguration was a "glorious day" mixed with concerns about more violence following the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riots.

Obama, 57, sat down with "Good Morning America" anchor Robin Roberts in her first interview following Biden's inauguration Jan. 20.

"It was a glorious day, the sun was shining, the mood was wonderful, but it was also mixed. I think everyone was concerned about more riots," the former first lady recalled. "But we were sure that things were under control. When you see fellow Americans storming the Capitol, that sits with you. That reality was with us on that stage."

But ultimately, Obama was proud to watch "our friend Joe Biden and Jill stand there with their beautiful family, to see Kamala (Harris) and her family standing there brave and bold, knowing that they were taking on a massive amount of responsibility to get this country back on track."

Former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama arrive before the 2021 Presidential Inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris at the U.S. Capitol.
Former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama arrive before the 2021 Presidential Inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris at the U.S. Capitol.

Amanda Gorman, the 22-year-old inaugural poet whom Obama interviewed for Time Magazine last month, was also an inauguration highlight for the former first lady.

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"I was proud and moved almost to tears to hear not just her words, but the confidence with which she delivered," Obama said. "I know there are many, many Amanda Gormans. I'm just proud when one of them gets a chance to be seen and the rest of the nation and the world gets to see. A lot of Black folks contribute to this country. A lot of Black folks have made this country what it is today."

Reflecting on a summer of social justice protests, Obama believes lasting change could be possible "this time."

"It feels different. What gives me even more hope is what happened at the polls in November," she said. "We've got to march, we've got to protest and we have to vote. We have to be educated, we have to be informed. Young people are starting to put those pieces together and understand that it's not either/or, it's all of it."

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The former first lady has kept busy over the last few months. Most recently, she released new young readers' edition and the paperback edition of her bestselling memoir "Becoming" on Monday.

"The process of 'becoming' isn't finite," Obama reflected in a video announcement Monday. "It doesn't have an end. It's not like you wake up one day and you are who you intended to be and that is that."

Obama added Tuesday that young people are "our hope" for bringing about change.

"They are not jaded yet, they are not beaten down by what they are supposed to be," she said. "They're still wide open. That's the point of 'Becoming': If you are lucky, you will never become something and that's the end. If you are lucky, you will constantly grow and evolve until the day you cannot breathe anymore."

Last month, she announced she was teaming up with Netflix for the new, kid-driven show "Waffles + Mochi." The show is based on the adventures of two puppets who have a dream to learn to cook fresh food from around the world with the help of Obama, a magical shopping cart and celebrity guests.

In a trailer released Feb. 11, Waffles and Mochi travel to Japan, Peru and Seoul with special guests like rapper Common, "Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat" author Samin Nosrat and actor Zach Galifianakis.

"I'm excited for families and children everywhere to join us on our adventures as we discover, cook, and eat delicious food from all over the world," Obama tweeted at the time.

Contributing: Elise Brisco

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Michelle Obama on 'GMA' talks Biden inauguration, Capitol riots