It may have been tough, but they pulled it off. Three years ago, Michelle and Malia Obama tried to slip out of the White House briefly for a heartwarming reason. In an interview with Ellen DeGeneres on Thursday, Obama talked about that one eventful time when she tried to get out of the White House to celebrate the legalization of gay marriage with supporters on Pennsylvania Avenue.
On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court effectively legalized gay marriage by ruling that the U.S. Constitution allowed same-sex couples to marry. Throughout the country, people celebrated the historic decision by taking to the streets. Over in Washington D.C., many gathered right in front of the White House with banners and LGBTQ pride flags. And Obama, it turned out, wanted to join in the celebration, too.
The former first lady told DeGeneres, "When you're in the residence, there's so much bulletproof glass that sometimes you don't hear what's going on outside. And we were having dinner and we were listening; we know there was a celebration happening but we didn't realize that thousands of people were gathering in front of the White House at that time to celebrate."
"And my staff was calling me," Obama added. "Everybody was celebrating and people were crying, and I thought, I want to be in that. Also, we had worked to make sure that the White House was lit up in the LGBT colors. ... It was beautiful."
The need to get out was strong. "So we had made that plan and I was sitting and watching it on TV and realizing, I'm living this. I said, 'I have to break out of this. I want to go outside and I want to be a part of that celebration,'" Obama said. "So I had the bright idea, I'm going outside."
Of course, she asked Barack Obama to join her in her plan to step outside and be part of the joyous crowd. But the former president declined for work-related reasons, according to her. Obama said, "He was like, 'Babe, I've got too much stuff to do. I can't go out.' And he's like, 'You know I can't walk outside. Come on. Get out of my office.'"
She even tried to get Sasha Obama to join her but in vain. While speaking to DeGeneres, Obama affectionately imitated her daughter's refusal to the laughter of the crowd.
Eventually, Malia joined her mother to get out and celebrate. "I said, 'We are not listening to anyone. We are going to walk out that door, you and me,'" Obama said. "So you come out of the residence and there's an elevator and there's usually [a Secret Service] agent right there and when you come out, they whisper our code names, 'They're moving.' And I'm like, 'dang, they know we're moving. Let's not take the elevator.'"
When she was about to step out, Obama was told that there would be media outside and that she would, naturally, be recorded. "Now I'm in ripped up shorts and a T-shirt, no shoes on, no makeup, and I thought, 'Hmm, you have a point. I don't want to be on that clip looking like this,'" she said.
Obama said it took 15 minutes but they eventually got out of the White House. And the moment she described seemed moving. "I held [Malia] tight and my feeling was ... we are moving forward," Obama said. "Change is happening."