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Barack Obama Shares Story About Malia’s Emotional Move-In Day at Harvard

Just when you thought you couldn’t love Barack Obama more comes the story of the day he dropped Malia off at Harvard University in August 2017.  

The former U.S. president, Michelle Obama and their youngest daughter, Sasha, all made the journey with Malia, 19, to Cambridge, Massachusetts for move in-day. And they didn’t leave the dirty work to Secret Service agents.

Barack Obama and oldest daughter Malia return to the White House on August 17, 2014 in Washington, DC. Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

Related: Malia Obama's Life After the White House

“It was interesting to see how everyone handled things different,” Barack told David Letterman in the premiere episode of Netflix’s My Next Guest Needs No Introduction. While Michelle was busy “scouring the bathroom,” Sasha, 16, folded clothes and helped Malia make her bed.

“Sasha, it was really touching, because Sasha tries to be cool, so she didn’t want to admit that she’s going to miss her sister,” Barack recalled to Letterman. “She was just being really quiet about it, but in a way that was really moving and touching.”  

Barack was tasked with assembling a desk lamp.

Related: Presidential First Children Through the Years, From Alice Roosevelt to Sasha Obama

“It should have taken three or five minutes . . . It only had, like, four parts,” explained the 56-year-old dad. “I’m sitting there and I’m just toiling away at this thing, and it’s taken half an hour. Meanwhile, Michelle had finished scrubbing and she’s organizing closets and all this, and I was just pretty pathetic.”

The former law professor admitted he broke down when Malia was out of sight. “I held it together in front of Malia and then we drove away,” he revealed. “Secret Service is in the front, and they’re just looking ahead. They’re pretending they can’t see me in the back sniffling. But the ritual of it was powerful.” 

Related: Relive Michelle Obama’s 10 Best Style Moments of All Time

Luckily Barack and Malia text and chat all the time. “We’re talking on a regular basis, but when we were kids, you had to go down to the hall at the end of the dorm,” he said. “My grandmother, who had grown up during the Depression, she hated long-distance calls. It was a waste of money. It was too expensive. So, if you called collect, you weren’t sure if she was going to accept!”

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