Nerve, struck. Michelle Obama characterized Donald Trump’s recently leaked comments about women below “basic standards of human decency” during a rally for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire on Thursday, October 13.
The first lady, 52, was visibly shaken as she passionately denounced the 70-year-old Republican presidential nominee for making vulgar remarks about women in a 2005 video leaked on Friday, October 7. In the footage, Trump — who has repeatedly come under fire for his degrading remarks about women — can be heard bragging to then-Access Hollywood host Billy Bush about kissing women and grabbing their genitals.
“I can’t believe I’m saying a candidate for president of the United States has bragged about sexually assaulting women,” Obama said, telling the crowd that she had decided to forgo a “normal campaign speech” in favor of a more opinionated approach in light of the recent events.
“I can’t stop thinking about this. It has shaken me to my core in a way that I couldn’t have predicted,” she told the crowd. “[It would be] dishonest and disingenuous to me to just move on to the next thing like this was all just a bad dream. It’s not something we can just sweep under the rug as just another disturbing footnote in a sad election season.”
Obama also referenced the most recent story in The New York Times, published on Wednesday, October 12, detailing two women’s allegations that the real estate mogul had groped and touched them inappropriately decades ago, noting that “it now seems very clear” that the footage released Friday wasn’t “an isolated incident.”
“I listen to all of this, and I feel it so personally,” she said. “The shameful comments about our bodies, the disrespect of our ambitions and intellect, the belief that you can do anything you want to a woman — it is cruel, it’s frightening, and the truth is, it hurts.”