Michelle Obama, First Lady of the United States, or ‘FLOTUS’, from 2009 to 2017, published her highly-anticipated second book on Tuesday. The Light We Carry follows the international bestseller Becoming, and shares intimate details of how she and Barack Obama spent their time in the White House living by their principles of “hope and hard work”. But some difficult moments are dealt with, too, including the “hurt” the 58-year-old endured when Donald Trump succeeded her husband as president.
Although Trump has described himself as the “least racist person”, he has been criticised for comments he has made over the years.
For example, he previously described COVID-19 as the “Chinese virus” or “kung flu”, which his own advisor, Kellyanne Conway, described as a “highly offensive” term.
He also hit out at Obama, claiming to send investigators to Hawaii to examine the former President’s birth certificate and would suggest that the former President was not born in the United States.
Michelle, writing in the book which reflects on how she has coped over the years, said Trump’s dislike of differences between people “shocked” her.
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She continued: “It shook me profoundly to hear the man who replaced my husband as President openly and unapologetically using ethnic slurs, making selfishness and hate somehow acceptable, refusing to condemn white supremacists or to support people demonstrating for racial justice. It shocked me to hear him speaking about differentness as if it were a threat.”
Following Trump’s appointment and as the world was shaken by the pandemic, Michelle said she had begun to lose hope.
She added: “Stuck in my house, over the frightening months of early 2020, I saw no logic to any of it. What I saw was a President whose lack of integrity was reflected in an escalating national death count, and whose poll numbers were still decent.”
According to a Lancet commission that surveyed Trump’s health policy record last year, 40 percent of deaths from COVID-19 could have been avoided when compared with other death rates of other high-income G7 countries namely, Canada, France, Germany, Italy Japan, and the UK.
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In an interview with the BBC on Tuesday, Michelle reiterated that Trump’s win “hurt” as she said more people now feel like they do not matter, adding that she often asks herself whether it was worth it.
She said: “Did we make a dent? Did it matter? And when I’m in my darkest moment, my most irrational place, I could say, well, maybe not. Maybe we weren’t good enough.”
However, during moments of clarity, Michelle said while they did not fix everything during the eight years Obama was in power, they did instead “lay a marker in the sand, pushing the wheel forward”.
The couple, who celebrated their 30-year wedding anniversary last month, now run the Obama Foundation which seeks to “inspire, empower and connect” people in order for them to then change the world.
Michelle Obama’s new book, The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times, is available at Waterstones for £12.50.