On the day of Donald Trump's inauguration last year, Melania Trump caught Michelle Obama off guard by offering her a gift: a blue Tiffany's box. The former First Lady seemed unsure what to do with the box, looking around for somewhere to put it, until her husband took the box into the White House. Ever since then, people wanted to know what was in the box — and Ellen DeGeneres finally managed to obtain the answer. In an interview that will air on Thursday, Obama tells DeGeneres why the gift exchange was awkward.
In a sneak peek of the interview — which, incidentally, is Obama's first televised interview since leaving the White House — Obama reveals that Trump had given her a "lovely frame." DeGeneres then plays the clip of the strange moment, in which Donald Trump climbed the stairs to greet the Obamas without waiting for Melania. Then, when Melania caught up, she handed the former First Lady the gift. In the interview clip, Obama explains to DeGeneres that she was taken aback because the exchange did not necessarily correspond to official protocol.
Well, there's all this protocol. 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... What am I supposed to do with this gift?"
Obama draws laughs from the crowd as she goes on to say that there was no staff or anybody around to take the box. There were photographers waiting to take a picture of her, her husband, and the Trumps, and she wasn't sure what to do with the gift. It was only when her husband took the box back inside that the awkwardness subsided.
That meeting between the Trumps and Obamas on the steps of the White House North Portico was full of awkward moments. Donald Trump was widely criticized for leaving his wife behind as he hurried to greet the Obamas, and Barack Obama was left to greet Melania as she came up the stairs. Nonetheless, it was the Tiffany's box exchange that became the most meme-worthy moment, especially because Michelle Obama briefly glanced at the camera with an expression of clear confusion.
In footage from the original gift exchange, the former president can be heard saying "you'll get used to the protocol" after taking the Tiffany's box from his wife. The moment quickly became a meme, with social media users wondering what was in that box — some speculated that it might contain the new president's long-suppressed tax returns, while others suggested that it contained Melania Trump's plea for help.
But last year's inauguration was not the only moment of purported awkwardness between the outgoing and incoming First Ladies. After speaking at the Republican National Convention in July 2016, Trump was accused of plagiarizing Obama's Democratic National Convention speech from 2008.
However, in an interview with CBS shortly after the 2016 election, Trump denied that there was any awkwardness between her and Obama. Instead, she and the former First Lady ended up having tea together in the White House as Obama showed Trump around.
"[Michelle] was a gracious host," Trump told CBS. "We had a great time and we talk about raising children in the White House. She was very warm and very nice."
Social media users can finally rest easy after a year of speculating about what was in that Tiffany's Box. And as Mashable's Nicole Gallucci pointed out, a "lovely frame" is a great present for when one wants to frame, say, a particularly memorable or awkward moment.