*Billed as his first TV talk show appearance since leaving the White House, former President Barack Obama opens up about everything from racism to sending his daughter off to college in an interview on David Letterman’s new Netflix talk show, “My Next Guest Needs no Introduction,” premiering today (Jan 12).
But the one topic Obama avoids: Donald Trump.
“I slept in, which I was pretty happy about,” Obama, 56, told Letterman about the morning of Jan. 21, 2017, the day after he left the White House.
“You know, it was great. I did not miss the trappings of the office,” Obama told the former “Late Show” host during the hourlong interview.
“I think there was a sense that I had run the race, I had completed it. I was proud of the work we had done and I was ready for the next stage.”
Obama went on to discuss a variety of subjects during the course of the wide-ranging conversation — including one of his facial features.
“She was very proud of the fact that my eyebrows were strong,” Obama says of his mother, quipping, “Which is an important asset that I’ve now passed along to my daughters.”
His two daughters, Sasha and Malia, are mentioned multiple times during the Q&A.
Obama recalls being so emotional when he dropped 19-year-old Malia at college last year that he couldn’t manage to put together a do-it-yourself item for his daughter’s Harvard University dorm room.
“I was basically useless. And everybody had seen me, you know, crying and misting up for the previous three weeks,” Obama said with a grin.
“Malia, who’s very thoughtful, she says, ‘Hey, Dad. You know I’ve got this lamp in this box. So put the desk lamp together?’”
“So I grab it. And it should’ve taken like five minutes or three minutes. It only had like four parts or something,” Obama recalled. “And I’m sitting there and I’m just toiling away at this thing and it’s taken half an hour.”
“I was just pretty pathetic,” he said to laughs from the audience.
The talk also turns serious at times, with Letterman discussing race relations at length with Obama.
“It turns out that we come up with all kinds of reasons to try to put ourselves over other people,” Obama says. “Racism is a profound example of that, but obviously biologically there’s no actual reality to it other than we made this thing up. We made it up.”
The only time that Trump’s name is uttered throughout the program is when Letterman travels to Selma, Ala., to speak with civil rights figure Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) and asks about the lawmaker’s decision not to attend the 45th president’s inauguration.
“Without being just flat-out specific about this, how big a setback is the current administration?” Letterman asks.
“It is a major setback to the hopes, the dreams and aspirations of a people,” Lewis, 77, replies. “Not just African Americans, but all Americans. because I think what has happened in America today is a threat not just to our own country, but to the planet.”
Letterman concludes the chat with the first guest on his show by telling Obama, “Without a question of a doubt, you are the first president I truly and fully respect.”