First lady Michelle Obama delivered a powerful and emotional rebuke to Donald Trump on Thursday, saying his vulgar comments on sexual assault “have shaken me to my core,” while calling on women to rise up against the Republican nominee.
“The fact is in this election we have a candidate for president of the United States who over the course of his lifetime and the course of this campaign has said things about women that are so shocking, so demeaning, I simply will not repeat anything here today,” she said at a campaign rally in New Hampshire. “And last week we saw this candidate actually bragging about sexual assaulting women. I can’t believe I’m saying that a candidate for president of the United States has bragged about sexually assaulting women.”
Her voice breaking at times, Obama warned the crowd that “I’m going to get a little serious here, because I think we can all agree that this has been a rough week in an already rough election.” She said remarks from Trump recorded in 2005, in which he crudely described how his celebrity status allowed him to sexually assault women without consequence, constituted “hurtful, hateful language.”
“Language that has been painful for so many of us,” she continued. “Not just as women, but as parents trying to protect our children and raise them to be caring, respectful adults. And as citizens who think our nation’s leaders should meet basic standards of human decency.”
Trump has apologized for the language captured on the tape, but he also chalked up the remarks to little more than “locker room talk” that did not reflect anything he had actually done. But the first lady said it was much more, describing Trump’s remarks as “a powerful individual speaking freely and openly about sexually predatory behavior.”