Rain is not forecast in Chicago until tomorrow, but the tears were pouring down from the first family, the crowd and many across the country during Barack Obama’s emotional final presidential speech in Chicago on Tuesday evening.
Barack Obama only had to say the word “Michelle” to have the crowd on its feet, giving the first lady a standing ovation.
Malia Obama, sitting next to her mother, started crying as her father paid a heartfelt tribute to her mother, the 18-year-old choking back tears and wiping her face.
“You took on a role you didn’t ask for and made it your own with grace and grit and style and good humor,” Obama said.
Then the president dabbed at his eyes with a white handkerchief. “You made the White House a place that belongs to everybody. And a new generation sets its sights higher because it has you as a role model,” he said.
It is rare for Obama to cry publicly – past moments include when he spoke about the Sandy Hook massacre, remembered his grandmother and after the death of Beau Biden. But the tears on stage from the first family on an emotional night echoed those of many in the US who are deeply fearful and concerned for the incoming Trump administration.
Obama also addressed his daughters, Malia and Sasha (the younger daughter did not attend the speech).
“You have become two amazing young women, smart and beautiful, but more importantly, kind and thoughtful and full of passion. You wore the burden of years in the spotlight so easily,” he said. “Of all that I’ve done in my life, I’m most proud to be your dad.”
Cue more tears from Malia. Michelle remained composed but became a little watery-eyed after the speech ended. Vice-president Joe Biden joined others in the crowd crying during and after Obama’s final speech.