In candid remarks Wednesday, former first lady Michelle Obama said women who voted for Republican nominee Donald Trump over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton went against their “authentic voice” in the 2016 presidential election.
“Any woman who voted against Hillary Clinton voted against their own voice,” she said at the Inbound 2017 conference in Boston, according to video from inside the event.
“What does it mean for us as women that we look at those two candidates, as women, and many of us said, that guy, he’s better for me, his voice is more true to me,” Obama said. “Well, to me that just says you don’t like your voice. You like the thing you’re told to like.”
Obama slammed Trump on the campaign trail after he was heard talking in a leaked “Access Hollywood” video about being sexually aggressive with women.
“I can’t stop thinking about this,” she said at the time. “It has shaken me to my core in a way I could not have predicted.”
Obama said her comments about the election are some of the things she has “rolling around in (her) head” as she pens her book and reflects on the past decade in the political eye.
“When you’re in it, you don’t have a moment, a second, to think,” she said. “This is the first time in eight years, probably 10 years, that I’ll have a chance to think back on what it all meant.”
And despite her criticisms of the current President, Obama noted that she hopes that Trump not only succeeds but is treated more charitably than people – and the Republican Party – treated her husband, former President Barack Obama, while he occupied the Oval Office.
“We want the sitting President to be successful because we live in this country. He is our commander in chief, he was voted in,” she said, adding that she knows from experience that “it is very difficult to lead when you have a peanut gallery of people who don’t know what they’re talking about second-guessing what you do.”
“When you’ve been in that position, you see that most formers do take a step back, they do let the current holder of the office lead. You do step up when you’re asked, and you do try to make sure what you say is constructive,” she continued. “Now, like I said, there was a whole party that didn’t do that for my husband, a whole political party that did not, but what we’ve learned is part of our legacy is leading with grace.”
She suggested part of this kind of leadership comes from learning when to respond and how to respond. Michelle and Barack Obama have stayed largely out of the political fray after leaving office, although he weighed in on the Obamacare fight at an event last week. Michelle Obama said the American people should continue to expect this type of limited response.
“Barack is not going to turn into what this President was, which is somebody tweeting in the wind and stirring up mess without really knowing what they’re talking about,” she said.