Michelle Obama addressed in a new book the deep hurt and disappointment she felt when Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election.
“It shook me profoundly to hear the man who replaced my husband as president openly and unapologetically using ethnic slurs, making selfishness and hate somehow acceptable, refusing to condemn white supremacists or to support people demonstrating for racial justice,” wrote Obama in “The Light We Carry,” according to audio excerpts released Monday to NPR. “It shocked me to hear him speaking about differentness as if it were a threat.”
Obama wrote that she and Barack Obama had built their principles on “hope and hard work,” and that she was confounded when the country chose to elect Trump.
“For eight years, we tried to live those principles out loud, recognizing that we made it as far as we had despite and maybe even in defiance of the bigotry and bias so deeply embedded in American life,” said Michelle Obama. “We understood that our presence as Black people in the White House said something about what was possible. So we doubled-down on our hope and hard work, trying to inhabit that possibility.”
“Whether or not the 2016 election was a direct rebuke of all that, it did hurt. It still hurts,” she said. “It felt like something more, something much uglier than a simple political defeat.”
“Stuck in my house, over the frightening months of early 2020, I saw no logic to any of it,” said Obama, analyzing how she sunk into a deep lack of hope. “What I saw was a president whose lack of integrity was reflected in an escalating national death count, and whose poll numbers were still decent.”
Obama in another audio excerpt released Monday also talks about how she was scared when Barack Obama first brought up to her that he wanted to run for president.
“I found the prospect of it actually terrifying,” she said, describing how she took time to come to terms with the decision. “I could have altered the course of history because of my fear. Instead I said ‘yes.’”
Obama’s new book, which goes on sale Tuesday, is a guide and reflection on how she coped with the last few years, how she overcame despair and anxiety, and rebuilt hope in the future. Her first memoir, “Becoming,” was released in 2018, selling more than 17 million copies worldwide, making it one of the top-selling books of all time.