Leaning against a column, arms folded, in the Rose Garden next to her fellow White House staffers the day after the presidential election, Valerie Jarrett looked like she’d been punched.

And a widely published photo of the moment didn’t lie.

“Obviously we were surprised by the outcome of the election,” Jarrett, President Barack Obama’s senior adviser and “first friend,” said at an onstage event Wednesday in Washington, D.C. “I’m not sure what the right analogy would be — like a punch in the stomach, let’s say.

“Soul crushing might be another description. But that’s the democracy that we have. The people get to decide, and the elections matter and we have to get about the business of doing our job.”

Jarrett, who is expected to return to Chicago after President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration, declined earlier this fall to rule out a run for office in Illinois.

She said Wednesday that the mood in the White House is “a lot better today than it was the day after the election, that’s for sure.”

And she called Trump’s apparent growing respect for Obama “a good sign.”


(c)2016 the Chicago Tribune

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