Michelle Obama Finally Opens Up About That Awkward Inauguration Gift Exchange with Melania Trump

Michelle Obama Thought Melania Trump's Inauguration Gift Was Awkward, Too

At last year's presidential inauguration, outgoing First Lady Michelle Obama was on the receiving end of an unexpected gift—which came in the form of a large Tiffany & Co. box—from incoming First Lady Melania Trump. In general, receiving a surprise in a robin's-egg-blue box should be a delight—but this was the presidential inauguration. Protocols are in place. Protocols that don't account for the unexplained presence of American jewelry companies.

The moment went viral, thanks to Obama's somewhat flummoxed facial expression. Still, the then-First Lady was gracious in the situation, appreciatively receiving the gift while looking around for someone to take it. Now, over a year later, Obama has admitted she was indeed caught off-guard during that inauguration day moment in an interview on Ellen, her first television interview since leaving the White House.

“Well, there’s all this protocol. I mean, this is like a state visit, so they tell you that you’re going to do this, they’re going to stand here," she explained to Ellen DeGeneres. "Never before do you get this gift, so I’m sort of like, okay." Her thought in the moment was, frankly, to just get the box to a neutral location.

“What am I supposed to do with this gift? And everyone cleared out and no one would come and take the box. And I’m thinking, Do we take the picture with?" she continued. "And then my husband saved the day—see, he grabbed the box and took it back inside. But everybody cleared out. No staff, no one. I was like, What do you do with the box?”

The only remaining question: What was in the box? Finally we know: it was a "lovely" picture frame.