Obama briefly addressed his daughters' reaction to the presidential election during his final presidential press conference Wednesday

By Sandra Sobieraj Westfall
Updated January 18, 2017 07:34 PM
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After President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama campaigned so passionately against Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential race, it’s been a natural question since last November: How did their daughters Malia and Sasha feel about Trump’s triumph?

Neither the president nor Mrs. Obama would say much about their daughters’ private reactions—until the president was asked Wednesday in the last question of his last press conference as president.

“They were disappointed,” Obama said of how Sasha, 15, and Malia, 18, felt about Trump winning. “They paid attention to what their mom said during the campaign and believed it because it’s consistent with what we’ve tried to teach them in our household, what I’ve tried to model as a father with their mom and what we’ve asked them to expect from future boyfriends or spouses.”

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

The president went on to say that, as parents, he and the first lady have also taught their girls resilience and hope — “and that the only thing that is the end of the world is the end of the world.”

Chip Somodevilla/Getty

“They don’t mope,” he added. “What makes me proudest about them is that they also don’t get cynical. They have not assumed that, because their side didn’t win or because some of the values they care about don’t seem as though they were vindicated, that somehow automatically, America had somehow rejected them or rejected their values.”

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As for his own cool and unflappable demeanor post-election, Obama swore it’s no act: “This is not just a matter of ‘No-Drama Obama.’ This is what I really believe. It is true that behind closed doors I curse more than I do in public. And sometimes I get mad and frustrated like everyone else does. But at my core I think that we’re going to be ok. We just have to fight for it. We have to work for it, and not take it for granted.”

As for how he, personally, will be doing after Trump takes the oath of office at noon on Friday, Obama said he wants to take time to process his White House experience — and also check in with Mrs. Obama, “to make sure that my wife, with whom I will be celebrating a 25th anniversary this year, is willing to re-up and put up with me for a little bit longer.”

He added: “I want to do some writing. I want to be quiet a little bit and not hear myself talk so darn much. I want to spend precious time with my girls.”