- Michelle Obama says her eldest daughter, Malia, sneaked out of the White House with her in 2015 to celebrate the legalization of gay marriage.
- The White House was bathed in rainbow lights to celebrate the monumental Supreme Court decision.
- Instead of asking permission to leave the house, they strode past guards to an exit, but ran into issues when the door was locked.
- In took them 10 minutes to escape, but they were successful.
Michelle Obama said her eldest daughter, Malia, was her “wing-woman” when she tried to sneak out of the White House once.
As the former first lady wrote in a passage of her new memoir “Becoming,” it was June 26, 2015, and she had just returned from attending the funeral service for the Charleston church-shooting victims.
She was headed to bed when she noticed a “purplish glow” coming in through one of the north-facing windows of the White House.
That same day, the Supreme Court had announced its decision in a pivotal case, effectively legalizing gay marriage across the country.
It was then that Obama remembered the staff planned to illuminate the residence in rainbow lights for the occasion.
Seeing the hundreds of people who had gathered outside the White House to celebrate the decision, she found herself “suddenly desperate to join the celebration.”
So, she started going around, asking each of her family members whether they wanted to join her.
“I stuck my head into the Treaty Room. ‘You want to go out and look at the lights?’ I asked Barack. ‘There are tons of people out there.’ He laughed. ‘You know I can’t do tons of people.’
“Sasha was in her room, engrossed in her iPad. ‘You want to go see the rainbow lights with me?’ I asked.
“This left Malia, who surprised me a little by immediately signing on. I’d found my wing-woman.”
Obama explains that normally, they have to check in with the Secret Service agents posted by the elevator anytime they want to leave the residence, but this time they broke the rules and strode on past.
“Malia and I just busted past the agents on duty, neither one of us making eye contact,” she wrote.
As they descended the stairs, they could hear the agents tailing them.
“Malia gave me a devilish smirk. She wasn’t used to flouting the rules,” Obama wrote.
Once they got downstairs, they came across the night usher who also asked if she could help them.
“Oh we’re just going outside, to see the lights,” Obama said.
They started descending the stairs that led to the North Portico but hit a roadblock when the door was locked. Obama explained that nine months before, a knife-wielding man had broken into the White House through this very door and, since then, they had started locking the door.
The usher also reminded Obama that all of the news cameras were trained on that very entrance, and someone else suggested that they use a loading door on the ground floor that was more out of the way.
“We’re getting out!” Obama remembers telling her daughter.
“We made our way down a marble staircase and over red carpets, around the busts of George Washington and Benjamin Franklin and past the kitchen until suddenly we were outdoors. The humid summer air hit our faces. I could see fireflies blinking on the lawn.
“And there it was, the hum of the public, people whooping and celebrating outside the iron gates. It had taken us 10 minutes to get out of our own home, but we’d done it. We were outside, standing on a patch of lawn off to one side, out of sight of the public but with a beautiful, close-up view of the White House, lit up in pride.
“Malia and I leaned into each other, happy to have found our way there.”