President Barack Obama bid farewell to the nation Tuesday in an emotional speech addressed to a country on edge — but one of the biggest questions asked on social media from the historic night was, “Where was Sasha?”
Sasha, Obama's younger daughter, had been expected to join sister Malia at the speech, but was absent. The 15-year-old’s absence became even more noticeable to viewers when the focus of his farewell shifted to his family.
Brushing away tears with a handkerchief, Obama paid tribute to the sacrifices made by his wife, then his daughters, who were young girls when they entered the big white mansion on Pennsylvania Avenue and leave as young women. It was a tribute that also left older daughter Malia wiping away tears on camera.
“Malia and Sasha, under the strangest of circumstances, you have become two amazing young women, smart and beautiful, but more importantly, kind and thoughtful and full of passion,” Obama told a crowd of some 18,000 at Chicago’s McCormick Place. “You wore the burden of years in the spotlight so easily. Of all that I've done in my life, I'm most proud to be your dad.”
But Sasha wasn't with Malia and Michelle in the audience, or on stage with the president after the speech concluded.
Following the address, a White House official explained that Sasha stayed in Washington, D.C., due to a school exam Wednesday morning.
President Obama now has less than two weeks before he accompanies Trump in the presidential limousine to the Capitol for the president-elect's swearing-in.
After nearly a decade in the spotlight, Obama will become a private citizen, an elder statesman at 55. He plans to take some time off, write a book — and immerse himself in a Democratic redistricting campaign.