Candid conversation

Michelle Obama gets candid about life in and out of White House, Trump’s ‘America First’ policies

Former first lady Michelle Obama in a conversation with Pluralsight CEO Aaron Skonnard. (Twitter)

Speaking at a tech conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, former first lady Michelle Obama reflected on the presidency of Donald Trump, her early years in the White House and the challenges of getting more women working in STEM fields.

“It’s like being shot out of a cannon while drinking from a fire hydrant blind,” Obama said, according to The Salt Lake Tribune, about adjusting to life in the executive mansion. “You have to tell the White House what kind of toilet paper you like. You don’t know where your forks are.”

Leaving the White House, Obama added, brought a sense of relief (“Freedom! I’m out,” as she put it). She also noted that she has no plans to run in an upcoming presidential election. But Obama did emphasize that she will continue “in public service … for the rest of my life.”

And while she did not mention President Trump by name, she did make a critical reference to his “America First” policy. When asked about the current state of the world, the former first lady groaned and reportedly said with a laugh, “I don’t have much of a poker voice.”

“It isn’t just us first,” she said, wading into the raging debate over health care. “We live in a big country and a big world. You can’t just want to help someone in a hurricane and not make sure they can go to the doctor when they’re sick.”

One item on her agenda is bolstering women’s representation in STEM fields — an apt subject for the conference, which was hosted by the tech learning platform Pluralsight.

“You can’t just say you want to fix the problems, you have to mean it,” she said, speaking with Pluralsight CEO Aaron Skinnard. “If a bunch of white guys are sitting around the table trying to get more women involved, they’re not going to come up with the answer.” She added that changes are needed in the way girls are encouraged to pursue science and math fields and how the American education system approaches teaching such subjects. Obama received a standing ovation from the audience at the end of the discussion, according to Pluralsight’s brief recap of the event.

Read the full story at The Salt Lake Tribune.

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