President Obama: “I Did Tear Up” Watching Lee Daniels’ The Butler, Oprah “Can Act”
President Obama revealed he shed a few tears while watching Lee Daniels’ The Butler. The movie, which is based the life of late White House butler Eugene Allen, who served under eight presidents, has topped the box office for the last two weeks. Speaking on “Tom Joyner Morning Show” in a radio interview broadcast Tuesday, the President shared how the film moved him.
“I did tear up,” said Obama, explaining, “I teared up just thinking about not just the butlers who have worked here in the White House, but an entire generation of people who were talented and skilled, but because of Jim Crow (segregation laws), because of discrimination, there was only so far they could go.”
Obama also praised the acting in the movie, which has garnered early Oscar buzz. “All of the acting was terrific, and I thought Forest Whitaker was wonderful,” he said. “And Oprah, my girl, she can act.” Of his own White House staff, the President says, “I will tell you that the butlers who are now here in the White House, when we first arrived, when Michelle and the girls just — first arrived, they could not have been kinder to us and warmer to us.” He continues, “And part of it, I suspect, is they look at Malia and Sasha and they say, well, this looks like my grandbaby, or this looks like my daughter.” “And I think for them to have a sense that we’ve come that far was a powerful moment for them, and certainly a powerful moment for us,” says Obama, adding, “We love them to death. They look after us just wonderfully.”