“My offer to Melania was, ‘You really don’t know what you don't know until you’re here, so the door’s open,’ as I’ve told her and as Laura Bush told me,” Obama told Oprah Winfrey in an interview set to air on CBS on Monday evening, describing her post-election meeting with the incoming first lady.
“My door is open,” she repeated later. “That was really the nature of the meeting.”
Obama also couched her offer to answer any of her successor's questions as a reflection of the support she received from her own predecessor.
“I'm not new in this ‘going high’ thing,” Obama said. “I’m modeling what was done for me by the Bushes. And Laura Bush was nothing but gracious and helpful, and her team was right there for my team all throughout this entire eight-year process.”
As a powerful surrogate for Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail, Obama popularized the slogan “When they go low, we go high” to describe her and the president’s response to attacks from critics. Clinton, too, used it, to counter what she argued was unfair criticism from Donald Trump.
Melania Trump was rarely a presence on the campaign trail, and her most prominent appearance prompted some controversy, when the speech she delivered at the Republican National Convention came under attack because parts seemed to be plagiarized from previous remarks by Michelle Obama.
Since her husband's election, Trump has stayed relatively quiet. During the campaign, she indicated that she would like to work on projects related to combating cyberbullying while her husband is in office; she will likely continue to live in New York with her son, Barron, until mid-2017, when he finishes the school year.