Former President Barack Obama spent months refusing to comment on who his daughter Malia cast her ballot for last November when she voted in her first ever election, but did reveal two weeks ago in his final White House press conference that she and sister Sasha were ‘disappointed’ by Donald Trump’s victory.
And this past Monday, just four days after her father vacated the Oval Office, Malia made it clear just how disappointed she was in the new commander-in-chief by joining a rally protesting his plans to revive the Dakota Access pipeline project.
The 18-year-old student, who will be heading off to Harvard University later this year, was one of approximately 100 people who gathered on Main Street at the Sundance Film Festival to let it be known how upset she was with President Trump’s plan to move forward with the controversial transport system.
The group braved the blistering cold and heavy snowfall as they held up signs reading ‘Exist. Resist. Rise.’ and ‘Impeach corporate control.’
That first sign expressed the group’s solidarity with Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, while the second expressed their displeasure with the Sundance Film Festival for allowing Chase Bank to be a sponsor of their event due to the fact that they are invested in the pipeline.
This is why the rally was held directly in front of the Chase Sapphire on Main Lounge.
And a few hours later, Malia was also one of the select individuals in attendance at a private event with Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Dave Archambault, a man who just last month publicly applauded her father when he put a halt to the pipeline after months of protests at the site.
Actress Shailene Woodley, who has been using her celebrity for much of the past two years to bring awareness to this cause, revealed that Malia had attended both the rally and private event in an interview with Democracy Now.
‘It was amazing to see Malia. I saw her last night when we did the event with Chairman Dave Archambault. And it was incredible to see her there,’ said Woodley, 25, when asked about the former first daughter’s very public support of the cause.
She went on to say: ‘Also, to witness a human being and a woman coming into her own outside of her family and outside of the attachments that this country has on her, but someone who’s willing to participate in democracy because she chooses to, because she recognizes, regardless of her last name, that if she doesn’t participate in democracy, there will be no world for her future children.’
Woodley was not full of praise for all of the Obamas however, making it clear that she wished Barack had done more to stop the pipeline when it was first proposed three years ago.
‘You know, as a citizen, of course, I would say that. But I’m not—I’m not in the White House. I don’t know what obstacles that man was up against. I don’t know what resistance he was up against,’ said Woodley.
‘And so, obviously, again, as a citizen, I would love to say, yes, I wish he had stopped this in 2014, when it was originally proposed to the tribe and when the Army Corps of Engineers originally ignored the tribes – actually, you know, according to law, they were meant to meet with the tribe multiple times, and that didn’t happen.
‘So, in 2014, I wish Obama had done something, but I don’t know, actually, that he could have. So, it’s kind of a – it’s hearsay for me.’
Barack Obama halted the project back in December by announcing that the Army would not approve an easement that would have allowed the proposed pipeline to cross under Lake Oahe in North Dakota.
It was in between the rally and private event on Monday that someone managed to snap a pic of Malia, who was seen hanging with a friend and looking at her phone while shopping at the Sundance Film Festival’s official store.
She landed in snowy Park City on Sunday after spending a few days with her parents and sister Sasha in Palm Springs, California at the home of White House interior designer Michael Smith and his partner, former Ambassador to Spain James Costos.
Malia was spotted out to dinner on the night that she arrived, and on Tuesday caught a screening of one of the festival’s most talked about films, Beach Rats.
One of the actors in the coming of age tale, which follows a Brooklyn teen as he grapples with his sexual identity, wrote on Twitter after learning the news: ‘Obamas daughter is at our screening … Malia knows who I am …’
That actor was no doubt even more excited when he later learned that Malia has also accepted an internship with Oscar-winning producer Harvey Weinstein, which is set to begin next month.
Malia previously interned on the set of the Halle Berry series Extant back in 2014 while on her summer break, and the following year headed up to the Big Apple for a spot on the crew of Lena Dunham’s Girls.
Berry, Dunham and Weinsten were all vocal supporters of Malia’s father during his time in office.
Malia also spent this past fall traveling through Peru and Bolivia as part of the Where There Be Dragons program, the ‘leader in cross-cultural education, fostering leadership, self-exploration and global citizenship.’
As part of the trip, Malia even spent time living with a family in the small town of Tiquipaya, which is a seven-hour drive from the Bolivian capital of La Paz.
That program is specifically designed for students who, like Malia, are on a gap year.
The Obamas revealed just before Malia graduated from the prestigious Sidwell Friends School last year that she had deferred her admittance to Harvard by one year, a decision that gave her the luxury of starting college as a private citizen and not a member of the first family.