In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, she said the country is "feeling what not having hope feels like"
Michelle Obama has said America needs a "grown-up" in the White House during an interview with Oprah Winfrey.
The First Lady also said the US was "feeling what not having hope feels like" following the election of Donald Trump.
Both Mrs Obama and her husband had spoken out against the billionaire tycoon on the campaign trail, saying he was "unfit" to hold office.
In candid remarks to the talk show host, the First Lady said Mr Obama had made the nation more hopeful during his eight years in office "because we feel the difference now".
During the interview, which is set to air on CBS, Mrs Obama said the country would come to appreciate her husband.
She added: "Because we feel the difference now.
"See, now we are feeling what not having hope feels like, you know?
"Hope is necessary. It's a necessary concept. And Barack didn't just talk about hope because he thought it was just a nice slogan to get votes."
She also said the President had provided reassurance and leadership in the face of uncertainty.
Mrs Obama said: "I feel that Barack has been that for the nation in ways that people will come to appreciate.
"Having a grown-up in the White House who can say to you in times of crisis and turmoil 'Hey, it's going to be okay. Let's remember the good things that we have. Let's look at the future. Let's look at all the things that we are building'."
Her comments come amid continuing controversy around the deeply divisive election with claims the Kremlin had ordered cyberattacks against the defeated Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in a bid to influence the outcome.
Mrs Obama, who met the President-elect and his wife Melania at the White House after the election in November, did not mention the couple by name during the interview.