On Monday, former first lady Michelle Obama launched a blistering attack on President Donald Trump and urged Americans to elect Democrat Joe Biden in November to end the chaos she said had been created during Trump’s four years presidency.
In an impassioned address that ended the Democratic National Convention’s first night, Obama said the Republican Trump “has had ample time to show he can do the job,” but struggled to reach the moment in a world reeling from the coronavirus pandemic, economic instability, and racial inequality.
“Let me be as honest and clear as I possibly can. Donald Trump is the wrong president for our country,” she said.
The former first lady contrasted dramatically the competence and character of former vice president Joe Biden to President Donald Trump.
Obama said, “Whenever we look to this White House 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,” she said, calling him “the wrong president” for the United States.
“He simply cannot be who we need him to be for us. It is what it is,” Obama said. “If you think things cannot possibly get worse, trust me, they can; and they will if we don’t make a change in this election. If we have any hope of ending this chaos, we have got to vote for Joe Biden as our lives depend on it.”
Michelle Obama’s blunt critique, frequently quoted in polls as one of the Democratic Party’s most successful figures, might create the sort of voter excitement some Democrats felt they would miss a virtual convention.
The convention opened in the midst of widespread fears about the health of voting due to the pandemic.
Democrats have promoted mail voting as a secure option, but Trump has announced that it is vulnerable to fraud, and has blocked U.S. emergency assistance. The postal service restricts voting by mail.
In the November election, the former first lady called on Americans in her most personal speech, and her most direct critique of Trump to date to “vote for Joe Biden like our lives rely on it.”
“We have to vote for Joe Biden in numbers that cannot be ignored,” she said. “We have got to grab our comfortable shoes, put on our masks, pack a brown bag dinner and maybe breakfast too because we’ve got to be willing to stand in line all night if we have to.”
Obama responded to these issues, saying that those who could not win a fair election were attempting to stop people from voting by closing polling sites in minority areas, purging voting rolls, and lying about mail-in ballot protection.
Liberals, progressives, democrats, and some Republicans gathered at Monday night’s virtual event to warn of the risks a Trump administration faces for four more years, and to foster dreams for a better future.
Close to four years after leaving the White House, the former first lady remains a highly popular figure within the party, especially among Black women, as well as with those outsides of the party.