Inauguration Day was an exciting time for millions of people across the country. A new era, a new president, a new sense of hope. There were smiles and elbow bumps befitting social distancing rules during a pandemic. And OK, hugs from at least one guy was having a tough time containing his enthusiasm. In a recent interview with Ellen DeGeneres, youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman shared a story about First Lady Michelle Obama reminding husband Barack not to hug on Inauguration Day. He was really feeling the love, and just couldn't seem to help himself.
President Barack Obama and Becoming author Michelle Obama were on hand last Wednesday to celebrate the swearing in of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. This inauguration looked like no other in living memory in Washington, D.C., due to COVID-19 safety protocols. Guests and performers, including the Obamas, wore face masks and tried to keep their distance from each other due to the pandemic. A notion Gorman told DeGeneres that President Obama was struggling to accept.
Gorman, who won the hearts of the world with her beautiful poem The Hill We Climb on Inauguration Day, told DeGeneres about a conversation she overheard between the Obamas. "I remember Michelle Obama, like, being close," she said. "And she kind of kept yelling at Barack like — 'Stop hugging people. Stop getting close to people.'"
Barack Obama really wanted to hug people on Inauguration Day.
President Obama was seen hugging several people at the inauguration including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, President Biden, and music legend Lady Gaga, to name just a few. While Michelle Obama might have wanted her husband to err on the side of caution, she did have a hug ready for one special person at least. Gorman herself, who told DeGeneres, "When I was done, she kind of like pushed him out the way and gave me the just the biggest, warmest Michelle Obama hug."
Michelle Obama made her admiration of Gorman evident on Instagram post-Inauguration, sharing awith the caption, "With her strong and poignant words, @amandascgorman reminds us of the power we each hold in upholding our democracy. Keep shining, Amanda! I can't wait to see what you do next. #BlackGirlMagic."
As for Barack Obama, thwarted hugger, hopefully the world will get a hold on the coronavirus pandemic in 2021 now that the vaccine is being distributed. And then he can share his joy about the new Biden administration with more than just cautious high fives and elbow taps.