Former US First Lady Michelle Obama, in an 18-minute speech on Day One of the virtual Democratic convention, tore into Donald Trump’s presidency painting a picture of a man who does not understand what she described as the “immense weight and awesome power of the presidency”.
Obama was seeking to define the sharp differences between Trump and former vice president Joe Biden, with less than 80 days to go before the November election.
Dressed in a dark chocolate coloured silk dress, Obama roasted Trump in her keynote speech, describing him as someone who “cannot meet the moment” amid a global pandemic.
Obama slammed Trump for downplaying the threat from the Coronavirus which has killed more than 170,000 Americans and left the economy in “shambles”.
“I am one of the handful of people living today who have seen firsthand the immense weight and awesome power of the presidency,” Obama said, speaking of her personal experience in the White House from 2008 to 2016.
“The job is hard. It requires clear headed judgment, a mastery of complex and competing issues of devotion to facts and history, a moral compass and an ability to listen and an abiding belief that each of the 330,000,000 lives in this country has meaning and worth,” Obama said.
Mincing no words, Obama did take Trump’s name, almost reluctantly. It wasn’t a full frontal attack, more like “epic shade”, according to Obama obsessors and politicos. “Donald Trump is the wrong president for this country. It is what it is.”
“As I’ve said before, being president doesn’t change who you are. It reveals who you are.
“Well, a presidential election can reveal who we are too, and four years ago, too many people chose to believe that their votes didn’t matter,” Obama said, taking the audience back to the moment Trump became president, defeating Hillary Clinton despite losing the popular vote.
Obama skewered the current occupant of the White House saying that when Americans look to this president for “some leadership, or consolation, or any semblance of steadiness, what we get instead is chaos, division and a total and utter lack of empathy.”
Obama’s remarks were recorded before Biden’s announcement choosing California Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate. Her speech made no mention of Harris although her social media feeds have featured lengthy posts on Harris, an Indian and Black American, after she joined the Democratic ticket.
Monday’s speech was the fourth Democratic convention address by Michelle Obama, who first took this stage during Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign.