Michelle Obama has ripped into President Donald Trump in her new book, saying her body ‘buzzed with fury’ after he bragged about sexually assaulting w
Michelle Obama has ripped into President Donald Trump in her new book, saying her body ‘buzzed with fury’ after he bragged about sexually assaulting women.
The former US First Lady also expressed disbelief that the American public would choose a ‘misogynist’ over the ‘exceptionally qualified’ Hillary Clinton. Mrs Obama writes openly in her eagerly-anticipated book about life growing up in Chicago and the racism she has faced in public life.
She talks about how she felt during those tentative first dates with now-husband Barack and says they had counselling because of challenges during his early political years. Her memoir, Becoming, is this year’s most eagerly anticipated book and a promotional event in London sold out within minutes.
Tickets for the talk at the Southbank Centre on 3 December are now being resold for more than £70,000 – more than 500 times their face value.
In the book, Mrs Obama states she assumed Mr Trump was ‘grandstanding’ when he announced his presidential run in 2015. She accused him of using body language to ‘stalk’ Mrs Clinton during a presidential election debate because he would follow her around the stage.
By standing so close, the former First Lady said the businessman was ‘trying to diminish her presence’. Mr Trump’s message, according to Mrs Obama, in words which appear in the book in bold print: ‘I can hurt you and get away with it.’
She remembered her reaction to seeing the infamous Access Hollywood tape in which Mr Trump had boasted about sexually assaulting women, saying ‘When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.’
The former lawyer recalled that her body ‘buzzed with fury’ after viewing the video during the 2016 Presidential campaign. Barack Obama’s wife also denounced the now-President’s ‘birther’ campaign, which questioned her husband’s citizenship, calling it bigoted, dangerous and ‘deliberately meant to stir up the wingnuts and kooks’. In the book, due to be published on Tuesday, she also reflects on early struggles in her marriage to Barack Obama as he began his political career and was often away.
The mother-of-two writes that they met with a counsellor ‘a handful of times’, and she came to realise that she was more ‘in charge’ of her happiness than she had realised. ‘This was my pivot point,’ Mrs Obama explains. ‘My moment of self-arrest’. The book is keenly anticipated, with Mrs Obama being admired worldwide.
Memoirs by former first ladies, including Mrs Clinton and Laura Bush, are usually best-sellers but this one is set to break records. The promotional tour starts on Tuesday at Chicago’s United Centre, where tens of thousands of people have purchased tickets ranging from just under 30 dollars (£23) to thousands of dollars.
Oprah Winfrey will be moderating the event in Michelle’s hometown whereas in London Michelle will be joined by novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Other stops on a tour scaled to rock star dimensions are planned at large arenas from New York City’s Barclays Centre to the Los Angeles Forum. While some fans have criticised ticket price, 10% of ticket sales at each event are being donated to local charities, schools and community groups.
In Becoming, Mrs Obama also writes movingly about her family life and gives us a detailed account of her courtship with her future husband. They met when they were both at the Chicago law firm Sidley Austin LLP and she was initially his adviser.
Secretaries claimed Mr Obama was both brilliant and ‘cute’ – although Michelle said she was sceptical, writing that white people went ‘bonkers’ any time you ‘put a suit’ on a ‘half-intelligent black man’. She also thought his picture had a ‘whiff of geekiness’. But she was more than impressed after meeting him, by his ‘rich, even sexy baritone’ and by his ‘strange, stirring combination’ of serenity and power.
She writes that when she finally allowed him to kiss her, ‘this strange mix-of-everything-man’ set off a ‘toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfilment, wonder’. Throughout her husband’s life in politics, she fought to balance public and private needs, and to maintain her self-esteem. She remembers agonising over what she feared was a cartoonish, racist image. She said she was labelled ‘angry’ and, by the Fox network, ‘Obama’s Baby Mama.’
At times, she feared she was damaging her husband’s 2008 presidential campaign when conservatives seized on a line from one of her speeches in which she said for the first time as an adult she was ‘really proud’ of her country.
Mrs Obama said the quote was taken out of context but there was lasting damage in that a ‘pernicious seed’ had been planted and there was a perception she was ‘disgruntled and vaguely hostile.’
She recalled that as the first black first lady, she had to continually prove herself to earn the aura of ‘grace’ that her white predecessors had so easily been labelled. She said she found confidence in repeating the mantra: ‘Am I good enough? Yes I am.’
Becoming is part of a joint book deal with her husband Barack and his memoir is expected next year. Although she has been widely praised for her intelligence and gift at public speaking, Michelle has long said she has no interest in running for public office.