During President Obama's emotional farewell speech in Chicago tonight, one face was notably absent from the crowd when cameras panned to the First Family. Obama's youngest daughter, Sasha, was not visible in the crowd, and did not appear on stage after the end of the president's address. Update: According to CBS News reporter Mark Knoller, there was a big reason Sasha couldn't attend. A White House official reportedly told Knoller that Sasha stayed in Washington, D.C., because she had an exam at school the morning after the speech. Sasha attends Sidwell Friends School, and a screenshot posted by Josie Duffy Rice of the Daily Kos asserts that travel is not an OK excuse for an absence from an exam.
First Lady Michelle Obama could be seen in the front row, with her arm wrapped around Malia, as both fought back tears. But 15-year-old Sasha was nowhere to be seen — and Twitter was quick to notice, as the hashtag #WhereIsSasha began trending moments after the president concluded his remarks.
There's no official comment from the White House about why Sasha wasn't at the farewell address, and there was no indication ahead of time that she would not be in attendance. But that didn't stop Twitter sleuths from speculating on a whole host of explanations.
It's a School Night
#whereissasha She is my favorite Obama kid! Maybe she's the designated survivor? Big test tomorrow? I missed her!— lisa abatemarco (@lmra323) January 11, 2017
Does Sasha Have an Exam Tomorrow Morning?
Omg Sasha has to take a damn science exam tomorrow this is NOT RIGHT pic.twitter.com/NWsLj2URfC— josie duffy rice (@jduffyrice) January 11, 2017
She Didn't Want to Cry on Camera
Sasha might have been too emotional #WhereIsSasha— Melanin Monroe (@ohblaquepanther) January 11, 2017
As a fellow Sasha, I can confirm we wear our hearts on our sleeves. Maybe Sasha Obama didn't want to get emotional on camera. #whereissasha— Sasha B. Masoomi (@SeasonsOfSasha) January 11, 2017
It Was Teenage Angst
That awkward age when you don't want to go hear your dad make his last speech as POTUS #whereissasha— Chris Jahnke (@cjahnke6) January 11, 2017
#whereissasha Like most teens shes on punishment for pulling a last minute wardrobe tempertantrum Mom was like stay home your not going.— Master Jedi (@trkdvrkevin) January 11, 2017
Michelle: Sasha hurry up we will leave you— Dual Blade Chauce (@Chaucerjr) January 11, 2017
2 hours later
She's Home Prepping the White House for Trump
#whereissasha maybe she's back in DC hiding the keys— Karin C Garfin (@aNewsJunkie) January 11, 2017
She Had the Flu — Like Everyone Else
So Sasha Obama is at home sick with the flu #WhereIsSasha— Jay Kentrell (@THEE_Kentrell) January 11, 2017
She Was Watching the LiveStream With Her Squad
Alternative: Sasha and Tiffany are in their PJs, eating pints of Häagen-Dazs, and commiserating. #whereissasha— Logan Hasson (@loganhasson) January 11, 2017
This Is A Job for Investigative Journalists
The Most Important Question of the End of The Obama Era:
I have that feeling you get when your roommate is making a poor life choice and you can't go to sleep until you know she's ok #WhereIsSasha— Maggie White (@maggiewhite85) January 11, 2017
"After his Amazing Speech America Is Happy and Then Left With 3 Words. Where is Sasha" #WhereIsSasha— ANTHONYTILGHMAN (@AnthonyTilghman) January 11, 2017
Regardless of what eventually emerges as the answer to this burning question, it's clear that the entire Obama family exuded grace, poise, and class throughout eight years under the most intense spotlight in the world. And more than once, the Obama daughters perfectly encapsulated what we were feeling:
So here's to you, Malia and Sasha Obama, wherever you are. I have a sneaking suspicion we haven't seen the last of either of you. (At least, I sure hope we haven't.)