The White House

Office of the First Lady

Remarks by the First Lady to U.S. Secret Service Employees

U.S. Secret Service Headquarters
Washington, D.C.

11:55 A.M. EDT

MRS. OBAMA:  Yay!  (Applause.)  Well, this is really a nice, warm welcome.  This is very nice.  Well, let me start by thanking Director Sullivan for that very kind introduction, and also for his leadership, because the same thing is true for him that he said about us, is that the excellent work and service that you provide to our family and to this country, it starts at the top. 

And one thing that the President and I always say about our work with this agency is that it is always 100 percent on point -- truly.  I mean, not just in terms of how you all do your job, but how you all make us feel.  And that is important when you’re trying to live a normal life and raise a couple of girls in the White House.  You all have really made us feel at home and safe, and there is no amount of thanks that I could convey that would give you a sense of how important you all are to us.

So this visit is special for me.  This isn’t just a job.  I’ve had an opportunity to travel around to the agencies here in Washington, because Barack and I feel that it’s important that we recognize you all that do the work on the ground.  And so often the rest of the country, they don’t know what you do, they don’t know how the Secret Service works, how many people are behind what happens, whether it’s filing or looking at terrorists -- I mean, the work you do here is pretty scary, let’s just say that.  (Laughter.)  All I can say is, after my little tour is, ignorance is bliss.  I just -- (laughter) -- I just don’t want to know.  (Laughter.)  You all can handle all that; just tell me when -- where to run.  (Laughter.)

But it’s amazing what you do and the professionalism that you bring to it.  So -- but this visit is special for us.  We love our detail.  We love every individual who spends every minute of the day -- people always ask, what is it like to have Secret Service?  It’s like -- for us, it’s like having family around.  And it’s amazing how you all manage to do that by shifting people in and out.  I was sharing with some of the staff that we have a fight among our family of who’s getting which people.  (Laughter.)  Sasha will come in, it’s like, "You took Scott!"  (Laughter.)  It’s like -- Malia’s like, "You took Scott?  That’s not fair!"  (Laughter.)  And then I’ll say the same thing to Barack -- it’s like, "Why did you get Beth?"  (Laughter.)  It’s dinner table conversation.

But that’s because we feel close to each of you.  And particularly for the girls, they have just transitioned beautifully because of the work that you all do.

So I’m here to say thank you.  I’m here to say, the next time that you have to work late, which all of you do -- you have to work on a weekend -- the next time you have to do something hard, just know that you have a First Family, and you also have a nation, that appreciates everything you do. 

And my thanks also extends to all of your families, because one of the things that we know is that when you’re doing service, it’s not just the individuals doing the job that serves; it’s everyone, every family member who is affected.  I know that so many of you have missed birthdays, or sleep -- (laughter) -- or a whole range of special occasions that happen in your personal lives because of the work you do for us.  And I know that there are kids who sometimes are disappointed and wonder, well, why aren’t you here?  And what are you doing?  And where is it that you really work?  (Laughter.)  And why is that so important?

But just let them all know that the work you do is tremendous, and we value it, and we cherish each and every one of you. 

So I’m going to stop talking so I can actually come down and shake some hands.  (Applause.)  So, you all, thank you so much.  Just keep up the good work.  Keep up the good work.

Thanks so much.  (Applause.)

END
12:00 P.M. EDT

White House Shareables