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Watching 2016 Election Was 'Painful,' Michelle Obama Says

  • Associated Press

FILE - First lady Michelle Obama and television presenter Oprah Winfrey participate in the White House's "United State of Women" summit in Washington, June 14, 2016.

First lady Michelle Obama told Oprah Winfrey in an interview that this past election was "painful," but that she and her husband would support President-elect Donald Trump's transition to the White House and beyond because it's "what's best for the country."

Obama sat down with Winfrey at the White House for an hour-long special that was broadcast Monday on CBS.

The first lady was a vocal supporter of Democrat Hillary Clinton during the campaign, one she told Winfrey "was challenging for me as a citizen to watch and experience."

"It was painful," she added.

The first lady touched on her emotional remarks on the campaign trail following the revelation of Trump's graphic and predatory comments about women in a 2005 recording. Obama told a New Hampshire crowd in October that Trump's remarks about grabbing women had shaken her "to the core."

"A lot of people have been shaken to their core and still are," she told Winfrey. "They are still feeling the reverberations of that kind of caustic language."

Taking high road

Still, Obama said she and the president were supporting Trump's transition because "no matter how we felt going into it, it is important for the health of this nation that we support the commander in chief."

"It wasn't done when my husband took office, but we're going high, and this is what's best for the country," she said, a reference to her comments during the campaign that when opponents go "low," Democrats should take the high road.

Some congressional leaders refused to support her husband when he took office, Obama said, adding that the strategy was "good for politics, but it wasn't good for the country."

She emphasized, “We are going to be there for the next president and do whatever we have to do to make sure that he is successful, because if he succeeds, we all succeed.”

As for her own political future, Obama said she wouldn't run for public office.

"People don't really understand how hard this is," she said. "It's not something that you cavalierly just sort of ask a family to do again."

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