CBS Host: Obama Presidency Had 'No Scandal'

King to Michelle Obama: 'Do you have any idea how much you are missed?'

Michelle Obama and Gayle King speak onstage during the 2019 ESSENCE Festival. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for ESSENCE)
July 8, 2019

CBS host Gayle King agreed with former first lady Michelle Obama's assessment this weekend that her husband's administration had "no scandal."

At the 25th annual Essence Festival in New Orleans on Saturday, Obama recounted her emotions attending President Donald Trump's 2017 inauguration, contrasting his smaller, more white crowd with the diverse crowd at her husband's inauguration in 2009.

"You could look at his crowd and you would see America. All of it," Obama said. "And I had to sit in [Trump's] audience, one of a handful of people of color and then listen to that speech, and all that I had sort of held onto for eight years, watching my husband get raked over the coals, feeling like we had to do everything perfectly, you know, no scandal."

"Yeah," King, lead anchor for CBS This Morning, chimed in.

"No nothing," Obama said as the crowd cheered. "No nothing!"

"Yes. No scandal," King said.

Obama said they and African Americans in general had to be "better than perfect" to be considered equal.

The Obama administration was plagued by investigations into the IRS for targeting conservative groups seeking exemptions, the botched handling and aftermath of the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack, the Fast and Furious gun-running operation that led to a contempt citation for Attorney General Eric Holder, President Obama himself labeled as delivering the "Lie of the Year" over Obamacare insurance cancellations in 2013, and loaded backlogs and incompetence at the Veterans Affairs administration.

King has blurred the lines between journalist and liberal booster for years. She has admitted she would put high-profile friendships over her role as a journalist, if push came to shove.

King is close friends with several powerful progressives and Democrats, including the Obamas, Oprah Winfrey and Sen. Cory Booker (D., N.J.). She has donated money to Democrats and has vacationed with the Obamas.

"I knew Cory [Booker] was going to run [for president] but I would never have said that before he announced it," King said in a Washington Post profile last month. "Even at the expense of my job, I would never betray a friendship."

King set the tone for the interview with Michelle Obama early.

"Do you have any idea how much you are missed?" King asked Obama to open the interview, as the crowd roared.

"I miss us, too," Obama said.

CBS News did not return a request for comment.