Michelle Obama Finally Explains That Awkward Inauguration Gift Exchange With Melania Trump
Michelle Obama has been taking a well-deserved vacation from the media since she and her husband left the White House, but now she’s back to answer one big, lingering question: What was that awkward gift exchange with Melania Trump at the inauguration?
Sitting down with Ellen DeGeneres for her first TV interview in over a year (which will air on Thursday, February 1), the former first lady was asked about the moment when Trump presented her with a large Tiffany & Co. box. As everyone no doubt remembers, Obama’s confused reaction to the gift went viral, inspiring countless memes and GIFs.
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“Well, there’s all this protocol,” she explained to DeGeneres, according to a clip obtained by People. “I mean, this is like a state visit, so they tell you that you’re going to do this, they’re going to stand here. Never before do you get this gift, so I’m sort of like, okay.”
Since the staff had already stepped out of sight so that an official photo could be taken of the Obamas and Trumps together, Michelle had no one to give the box to. She said she thought to herself, “‘What am I supposed to do with this gift?’ And everyone cleared out and no one would come and take the box. And I’m thinking, ‘Do we take the picture with [the gift]?'”
Fortunately for everyone involved, President Obama stepped in to help. “And then my husband saved the day — see, he grabbed the box and took it back inside,” Michelle recalled. “But everybody cleared out. No staff, no one. I was like, ‘What do you do with the box?'”
And after all of that, what was in the box? “It was a lovely frame.” Mystery solved!
(photo via Mark Wilson/Getty Images + Kevin Winter/Getty Images)