Secret Service taught Malia how to drive, says first lady

Associated Press
Associated Press

By Darlene Superville
Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Some teenagers get driving lessons from their parents. Other teens are taught by licensed instructors.

But Malia Obama is not your average 16-year-old: Her driving lessons were provided by the U.S. Secret Service.

Asked who taught Malia how to drive, first lady Michelle Obama told celebrity chef and daytime talk-show host Rachael Ray in an interview that it was the armed agents who provide 24-hour security for the family.

“The Secret Service, actually, because they wouldn’t let me in the car with her,” Mrs. Obama said in an excerpt of the interview.

The full interview is set to air Thursday.

Mrs. Obama hasn’t driven herself in seven or eight years, she said.

She added that driving gives Malia “a sense of normalcy,” helping her feel like the rest of her friends who are also driving. “And my kids have got to learn how to live in the world like normal kids.”

When Ray says that the Obamas seem “so grounded,” the first lady replies that her “hope is just to make sure that they (her daughters) come out of this thing as functioning adults, you know?”

Mrs. Obama, whose younger daughter Sasha is 13, said Malia drives herself around Washington.

“She always has security around but in order for her to learn how to drive she had to drive on her own,” the first lady said during a separate interview on “Live! With Kelly and Michael” earlier this week. “So once she was legally permitted to drive on her own, she gets in her car.”