First Lady Michelle Obama weighed in on the leaked tape of Donald Trump‘s predatory comments about women at length in a powerful speech Thursday, calling his comments “disturbing” and “shocking.”
Campaigning for Hillary Clinton in Manchester, New Hampshire, Obama expressed disbelief that a presidential candidate made such remarks. While that topic is usually reserved for Vice President Joe Biden, Obama took it on in the wake of groundbreaking allegations being made against Trump following the release of tapes that revealed he bragged about groping women in 2005.
She crusaded against his insistence that what he was caught saying was “locker room” banter, calling what he has said and allegedly done “intolerable.” One of the points she made was that Trump’s alleged as and documented comments are insulting to men as well as women. (A number of leading GOP officials and politicians have backed away from Trump in the days since the 2005 audio leaked and many of them are men.)
Still, she said, too many people are treating this latest scandal like any other political headline. “This is not normal,” she asserted. “This is not politics as usual. This is disgraceful. It is intolerable. It doesn’t matter what party you belong to. Democrat, Republican, Independent – no woman deserves to be treated this way. None of us deserves it. This isn’t about politics; this is about basic human decency.” She called on women to vote and stop “this madness,” saying, “We as women have all the power we need to determine the outcome of this election” and threw in her now-infamous line, “when they go low, we go high!”
She followed it up with Clinton’s own line, “We are stronger together.” The speech was broadcasted moments ahead of a speech by Trump himself, which kicked off with a chant of “U-S-A! U-S-A!” and his declaration that in 26 days, he will win the presidency.
“The fact is that in this election, we have a candidate for president of the United States who, over the course of his lifetime and the course of this campaign has said things about women that are so shocking. So demeaning,” she said. “I simply will not repeat anything here today. And last week we saw this candidate actually bragging about se women. And I can’t believe that I’m saying that.” Obama said she felt compelled to speak out against Trump’s comments because of how disturbing they are.
“It would be dishonest and disingenuous for me to move on to the next thing like this was just a bad dream,” she said. “This is not something we can ignore. It’s not something we can sweep under the rug as just another disturbing footnote in a sad election season. Because this was not just a lewd conversation. This wasn’t locker room banter. This was a powerful individual speaking freely and openly about sexually predator behavior.”