Barack Obama Cried Dropping Malia Obama Off at Harvard: "It Was a Little Bit Like Open-Heart Surgery"

While helping his daughter move in to her new college residence with former first lady Michelle Obama, the 44th president shed a few tears

By Elyse Dupre Sep 27, 2017 12:17 PMTags

Watching kids leave for college is difficult for any parent—including former President Barack Obama.

The former commander-in-chief revealed how emotional it was for him to send his eldest daughter Malia Obama, 19, to college this year during a short speech at an event for the Beau Biden Foundation for the Protection of Children in Delaware.

"For those of us who have daughters, it just happens fast," the 44th president said in a video published by WDEL 101.7FM. "I dropped off Malia at college, and I was saying to Joe and Jill [Biden] that it was a little bit like open-heart surgery."

However, Obama was able to hold back the waterworks until he and his wife Michelle Obama left the campus.

"I was proud that I did not cry in front of her," Obama said, "but on the way back, the secret service was looking straight ahead pretending they weren't hearing me as I sniffled and blew my nose. It was rough."

Obama had a feeling he might shed a tear or two.

"Malia going off and leaving...that'll make me tear me up," he told CBS This Morning anchor Gayle King in February 2016.

Malia is a freshman at Harvard University, her parents' alma mater, and the former president and first lady helped her move in to her on-campus residence in August—one day before her fellow classmates arrived for the fall semester.

How Malia Obama Is Gracefully Holding It Together as Harvard's Most Famous Freshman After Growing Up in the White House

She graduated from high school in 2016; however, she postponed her enrollment at Harvard to take a gap year.

Thankfully, the Obamas aren't empty nesters just yet. Their youngest daughter Sasha Obama is still in high school.

Get the tissues ready.