First Lady Michelle Obama delivered Thursday a fiery speech, blasting Donald Trump’s vulgar and sexist comments, calling them “shocking” and “demeaning,” and below “basic standards of human decency.”
Speaking at a rally for Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire, Mrs. Obama said that she couldn’t stop thinking about remarks the Republican presidential nominee made in 2005, when he bragged about making unwanted sexual advances and being able to grab women “by the pussy.”
The first lady said those words had “shaken me to my core in a way that I couldn’t have predicted,” and spoke about the impact they were having on women everywhere.
Mrs. Obama lamented the “hurtful, hateful language about women” throughout the campaign, saying it was “painful” to those who expected leaders should meet “basic standards of human decency.”
Her voice quivered as she recalled a meeting with young women at the White House on Tuesday.
“I told them they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect,” Obama said. “I wanted them to understand that the measure of any society is how it treats women and girls.”
Obama said the comments made by Trump left her “shaken.”
“I can’t stop thinking about this,” she said. “It has shaken me to my core in a way I could not have predicted.”
She added: “I know this is a campaign but this isn’t about politics. It’s about basic human decency.”
The first lady said she’d felt the impact of Trump’s words personally, as had other women.
“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,” she said. “It is cruel. It is frightening. And the truth is, it hurts. It hurts.”
The speech was an uncharacteristically direct attack from the first lady, who said she eschewed her “normal campaign speech” because it would have been “dishonest and disingenuous to me to just move on to the next thing like this was all just a bad dream.”
“This is not something that we can ignore,” Obama said. “It’s not something that we can just sweep under the rug as just another disturbing footnote in a sad election season.”
Mrs. Obama also cautioned against a “protest vote” and urged the supporters gathered to do “everything possible to elect Hillary Clinton.”