During an address outlining his proposal to curb gun violence on Tuesday, President Barack Obama shed a few tears and raised a few eyebrows. Although it may seem shocking for the leader of the free world — who also happens to be a man — to cry in public, there's absolutely no shame in acknowledging that he's a human being with emotions. Because he had a lot to be emotional about. During the speech he listed just a handful of the many, many times he's had to address the nation following a mass shooting. Obama's speech Tuesday was just one of many times he wasn't afraid to show his emotions, because the issues he's dealing with are serious, and sometimes remaining stone faced just wouldn't be human.
According to The Week, Obama has spoken after twelve mass shootings during his seven years as president. I'd cry, too. In an interview with the BBC last July, Obama shared that his greatest frustration during his presidency has been his inability to pass "common sense gun safety laws." Many people are hopeful that his new executive orders can bring about change, though Republicans are already threatening to challenge them in court. It seems like a no-brainer that gun violence is a serious problem in America. Politifact reported that over 300,000 Americans have died due to gun violence in the last decade (less than 100 have been killed by terrorists). That's enough to make anyone with a conscience weep for the U.S..
But here's the thing: this wasn't the first time that Obama has cried publicly, or publicly admitted to a private cry. Perhaps due to the fact that he's on camera more often than presidents of the past, or maybe because he's just more in touch with (and unashamed to express) his emotions, we've seen our president cry quite a few times. Here are six other times Obama has cried, because he's just a human being.
When He Lost His Grandmother
While on the campaign trail back in November of 2008, then-Illinois Sen. Obama lost his grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, who helped raise him. During a rally for his campaign, he described her a little bit, according to ABC News:
She was one of those quiet heroes we have all across America. I'm not going to talk about it too long because it's hard to talk about.
When He Saw How Far He'd Come
In a 2012 campaign speech in Iowa, Obama thanked Iowa for believing in him and asked for their support in securing another four years in the White House. POTUS teared up when he reminisced about his first presidential campaign office.
When He Won Again
Days later, Obama was reelected, and he was overcome with emotion when making a speech to his campaign staff thanking them for their help in getting there.
After Sandy Hook
Just a month into his second term, the president cried again, but these weren't tears of joy. Here, he addressed the nation after the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, that left six adults and 20 small children dead:
We've endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years, and each time I learn the news, I react not as a president, but as anybody else would — as a parent.
When His Buddy Left
In February of 2015, Obama wiped away tears while bidding farewell to U.S. Attorney Gen. Eric Holder at his portrait unveiling, remarking on how having "good men in a position of power and authority" was "a rare thing, a powerful thing."
When He Heard Aretha Sing
Plenty of other things have moved the president to tears, from funerals to movies to the fact that his daughters are growing up too fast, but here's a reason that will leave anyone in a puddle on the floor, wishing they could feel joy again: Obama cried during Aretha Franklin's performance of "A Natural Woman" at the Kennedy Center just last month, in honor of Carole King.
Obama has feels and he doesn't care who knows it. I'm going to miss that guy. Now, in an effort to cheer up, I'm off to look at pics of POTUS being adorable with kids, one of my favorite pick-me-ups.
Image: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images News