And now she has taken on Donald Trump, in all of his sleazy, sexual predator, woman-degrading behavior. As reported by Huffington Post's Sam Levine from the campaign trail in New Hampshire:
==============="With her voice shaking at times, [Michelle] Obama said Trump’s comments made it impossible for her to give her normal stump speech. It 'would be dishonest and disingenuous to me to move on to the next thing like this [Trump tape] was all just a bad dream,' she said. 'This is not something that we can ignore. It’s not something we can just sweep under the rug as just another disturbing footnote in a sad election season.'
“'This wasn’t just locker room banter,' she continued. 'This was a powerful individual speaking freely and openly about sexually predatory behavior and actually bragging about kissing and groping 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. . . . '
“'It’s like that sick, sinking feeling you get when you’re walking down the street, minding your own business, and some guy yells out vulgar words about your body. Or when you see that guy at work that stands just a little too close, stares a little too long and makes you feel uncomfortable in your own skin,' she continued. 'It’s that feeling of terror and violation that too many women have felt when someone has grabbed them or forced himself on them and they’ve said no, but he didn’t listen' . . . . "
She went on to give a spirited defense of women for not coming forward sooner to report such behavior, because there is a history of women not being believed when they do accuse a man. “Maybe we’re afraid to be that vulnerable. Maybe we’ve grown accustomed to swallowing our emotions and staying quiet because we’ve seen that people often won’t take our word over his.”
She added that Trump's comments were insulting to men as well as women. Decent men do not treat women this way. "They are loving fathers who are sickened by the thought of their daughters being exposed to this kind of vicious language about women. They are husbands and brothers and sons who don’t tolerate women being demeaned and disrespected.”
Michelle Obama then said, "Regardless of party, every American should find Trump’s behavior reprehensible. . . . This is not normal. This is not politics as usual. This is disgraceful, it is intolerable. And it doesn’t matter what party you belong to. Democrat, Republican or independent, no woman deserves to be treated this way. None of us deserves this kind of abuse.”
==================Brava!, Michelle. This is a devastating indictment of a man -- and of a party that would nominate such a man, knowing full well who he is. He may be new to politics, but he has been a public figure, splashed across the tabloids and gossip columns of New York for decades. They knew.
Added Note: I wrote the above last night, not having seen Michelle Obama's speech but only from reading Sam Levine's account of it. But then Rachel Maddow got special permission from her MSNBC producer to air about 20 minutes of the tape of Michelle's speaking, without commercial interruptions, and I have to tell you: It was ten times as powerful as the written word. What I said at the beginning about her engaged passion, and the audience's response, magnified the written words. As to content, I want to add that she emphasized, in addition to the effect on girls hearing Trump's speech, the effect on boys. This is not a role model of what it is to be a man, she wants them to know. That is such an important addition to this discussion.
If you have not seen Michelle Obama actually delivering this speech, by all means, find a way. I'm sure it can be found on YouTube or some other of those sites that I know nothing about. It is a must-watch.
Here's one link: http://www.thedailybeast.com/