Michelle Obama Admits She Stopped 'Smiling' When Trump Became President

Published November 14th, 2018 - 12:00 GMT
(AFP/File Photo)
(AFP/File Photo)

Michelle Obama says she found the day of Donald Trump's inauguration so difficult to bear that she 'stopped even trying to smile' during the ceremony.

The former first lady, 54, shares the heart-wrenching confession in her new book, Becoming, which is due to be published on Tuesday, explaining that she was left devastated by the lack of diversity - and the stark contrast between Trump's ceremony and her husband's.

'The vibrant diversity of the two previous inaugurations [both of her husband's] was gone,' she writes, before going on to state that she felt 'the optics... what the public saw' may have been a very realistic illustration of the incoming president's 'ideals'.

'Someone from Barack's administration might have said that the optics there were bad, that what the public saw didn't reflect the president's reality or ideas. But in this case, maybe it did,' she says.

'Realizing it, I made my own optic adjustment: I stopped even trying to smile.'

At the time, Michelle's distressed expression sparked a slew of viral memes, as people used images of the outgoing first lady to illustrate their own feelings about the new president.

Twitter was full of funny screen grabs and jokes about Michelle's pained face, with people writing things like, 'Today Americans learned that Michelle Obama does not posses a poker face,' and, 'Michelle Obama is literally all of us today.'

In an interview with Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts, which aired on Monday morning, hours before her book is due to launch, Michelle was pressed about her opinion on the current political situation.

'I've said what I will continue to say: being Commander in Chief is a hard job,' the mother-of-two said. 'You need to have discipline, you need to read, and you need to be knowledgeable, you need to know history, you need to be careful with your words.

'But voters make those decisions, and once those voters have spoken... we live with what we live with.'

With regard to her husband's presidency - and how it might have led to Trump's election, Michelle refuses to be drawn.

When Roberts noted that 'there are some people that feel that the seed of discontent that led to Trump being elected happened during your husband's presidency', the mother-of-two replied: 'I would like to indulge the question, but it requires a level of speculation about how people are feeling and thinking that I don't have.

'I think we're going to have to figure that out as a nation.'

What she is sure about, however, is the fact that her family's presence in the White House was both celebrated and 'hated' - perhaps even in equal measure.

'Our presence in the White House had been celebrated by millions of Americans, but it also contributed to a reactionary sense of fear and resentment among others,' she writes in her book.

'The hatred was old and deep, and as dangerous as ever.'

Michelle's latest comments about Trump's election come just hours after it was revealed that she didn't think her husband could win the 2008 Presidential election because she didn't feel as though 'the country was ready'.

In 2004, Barack was already a rising star when he was asked to speak at the Democratic National Convention.

By 2008, after a meteoric rise to fame, the senator announced his candidacy for president.

But although she had given him her blessing to run, Michelle says she didn't think he stood a chance of actually winning.

She told Roberts: 'I think I did what a lot of black folks were doing. We were afraid to hope because it's hard to believe that the country that oppressed you could one day be led by you, you know?.

'I mean, my grandparents, you know, lived through segregation. My grandfather, his grandfather was a slave, you know? So this, these memories were real.

'And they didn't think the country was ready. And, and so my attitude was a reflection of that skepticism'.

The mother of two also told Roberts that the criticism she endured during her husband's campaign 'hurt' as she was personally insulted and her patriotism was questioned.

She added: 'I don't think we do each other a service by pretending like hurtful things don't hurt,' she told Roberts.

'And, that's what I've come to. ... I need to own that hurt. I need to talk about it. I need to put it out there for myself so that I can heal from it.

'But at the time, oh gosh, you know? I wasn't gonna allow myself to feel victimized from it because there was no time to hurt in that role'.

Michelle claimed that her successor Melania Trump hasn't reached out to her since becoming First Lady in 2015 even though she offered to help her.

Asked by Robin Roberts had Melania reached out to her since moving into the White House, she replied: 'No, she hasn't'.

She also claimed that she and FLOTUS approach their roles in two very different when asked if she thought Melania was doing a good job.

She added: 'You know, one of the things you learn as a former, it's, like, I don't judge, what a current is doin', you know?.

'So I'd prefer not to, you know, speak on what she's doing versus what I did because I think every first lady approaches this job differently'.

In Becoming, Michelle Obama wrote that she will 'never forgive' President Donald Trump for challenging the legitimacy of her husband's birth certificate.

In 2011, Donald Trump and other so-called birthers were questioning whether Barack Obama was a US citizen.

She has described their actions as "crazy and mean-spirited. Its underlying bigotry and xenophobia hardly concealed.

'But it was also dangerous, deliberately meant to stir up the wingnuts and kooks.

In audio from the book obtained exclusively by ABC News, Michelle Obama wonders: 'What if someone with an unstable mind loaded a gun and drove to Washington?

'What if that person went looking for our girls? Donald Trump, with his loud and reckless innuendos, was putting my family’s safety at risk. And for this, I’d never forgive him'.

President Trump responded Friday to Michelle's comments about him in her book, pointing the finger at former President Barack Obama.

'She got paid a lot of money to write a book and they always expect a little controversy," Trump told reporters.

'I'll give you a little controversy back, I'll never forgive [President Barack Obama] for what he did to our US military. It was depleted, and I had to fix it."

'What he did to our military made this country very unsafe for you and you and you,' Trump said.

Michelle Obama also writes about her reaction to Trump being elected president, claiming she wondered why women had rejected America's first female Presidential Candidate Hilary Clinton.

She wrote: 'I will always wonder about what led so many women, in particular, to reject an exceptionally qualified female candidate and instead choose a misogynist as their president.

'It's amazing to me that we still have to tell people about the importance of voting,' Obama told Roberts.

On Friday Michelle revealed that she suffered a devastating miscarriage 20 years ago, while opening up about 'having to do' in vitro fertilization to then conceive her two daughters with Barack.

Michelle also revealed that she and former President Barack Obama 'had to do IVF' to conceive their daughters Sasha and Malia, now 17 and 20, explaining that, because of her age at the time, she was worried about being able to get pregnant naturally.

'The biological clock is real... egg production is limited' she said on GMA. 'I realized that when I was 34 or 35 [so] we had to do IVF.'

In the book she reveals that she decided to seek out IVF treatments and began giving herself hormone shots.

As her 'sweet, attentive husband' worked at the state legislature, she was left 'largely on my own to manipulate my reproductive system into peak efficiency.'

This article has been adapted from its original source.


© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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