“I had the opportunity to sit by your father at funerals, the highs and the lows, and we shared stories about our kids and about our parents,” the former first lady told his daughter, TODAY's Jenna Bush Hager, during an interview on their trip to Vietnam to raise awareness about the importance of education for young girls. “Our values are the same. We disagree on policy, but we don't disagree on humanity. We don't disagree about love and compassion.”
“I think that's true for all of us. It's just that we get lost in our fear of what's different,” she added.
The former president and former first lady have shared some viral moments in the last few years. Bush handed Obama a cough drop at Sen. John McCain’s 2018 funeral and he gave her another candy at last December's funeral for his father, former President George H.W. Bush.
“You're friends with both Ellen and my dad, and they sat next to each other which caused some sort of online backlash,” Jenna said to Obama. “Your husband recently talked about the dangers of ‘cancel culture.’ What do you say to people that want to be closer with each other?”
“When we drop our guards, we let ourselves become vulnerable, and that vulnerability allows us to share our true stories with each other,” Obama replied.
The "Becoming" author also said younger people possess more wisdom than people her age and that bodes well for the future.
“This generation coming up, I think they know more than what we did,” she said. “While one can argue that social media is problematic, it's also opening people up to new ideas, to each other, to parts of the world. My hope is that they will be more open-minded and secure in who they are so that they can welcome other people's stories into the mix. But it has to begin with us.”
Obama's trip to Vietnam, which she announced on International Day of the Girl, marks her first public overseas trip since leaving the White House. She has her eyes on making a difference in 2020.
“Building up that next generation of leaders, replacing ourselves, you know, getting out of the way and letting some young people sit in some of these seats,” she said about her goals for the next year. “We'll be doing that, Barack and I, for the rest of our lives.”