Michelle Obama rips Donald Trump in her new book

Her memoir Becoming is set to come out on November 13

By AP in Washington
  • Published 9.11.18, 3:42 PM
  • Updated 9.11.18, 3:42 PM
  • 2 mins read
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In her book Becoming, Michelle Obama says how she tried to "block" out the news that Trumd had become President. AP

Former first lady Michelle Obama blasts President Donald Trump in her new book, writing how she reacted in shock the night she learned he would replace her husband in the Oval Office and tried to “block it all out”.

She also denounces Trump’s “birther” campaign questioning her husband’s citizenship, calling it bigoted and dangerous, “deliberately meant to stir up the wingnuts and kooks”.

In her memoir Becoming, set to come out on Tuesday, Michelle writes openly about everything — from growing up in Chicago to confronting racism in public life to her amazement at becoming the country’s first black first lady.

She also reflects on early struggles in her marriage to Barack Obama as he began his political career and was often away. She writes that they met with a counselor “a handful of times”, and she came to realise that she was more “in charge” of her happiness than she had realised. “This was my pivot point,” Michelle explains. “My moment of self-arrest”.

Michelle writes that she assumed Trump was “grandstanding” when he announced his presidential run in 2015. She expresses disbelief over how so many women would choose a “misogynist” over Hillary Clinton, “an exceptionally qualified female candidate”. She remembers how her body “buzzed with fury” after seeing the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape, in which Trump brags about sexually assaulting women.

She also accuses Trump of using body language to “stalk” Clinton during an election debate. She writes of Trump following Clinton around the stage, standing nearby and “trying to diminish her presence”.

Trump’s message, according to Michelle, in words which appear in the book in darkened print: “I can hurt you and get away with it.”

The Associated Press purchased an early copy of Becoming, one of the most anticipated political books in recent memory. Michelle is admired worldwide and has offered few extensive comments on her White House years. And memoirs by former first ladies, including Clinton and Laura Bush, are usually best-sellers.

Michelle's initial scepticism about Barack Obama turned to a
Michelle's initial scepticism about Barack Obama turned to a "toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder" with their first kiss. The Telegraph file picture

In Becoming, Michelle shares both pain and joy. She writes lovingly of her family and gives a detailed account of her courtship with her future husband, whom she met when both were at the Chicago law firm Sidley Austin LLP; she was initially his adviser. Secretaries claimed he was both brilliant and “cute”, although Michelle was sceptical, writing that white people went “bonkers” any time you “put a suit” on a “half-intelligent black man”. She also thought his picture had a “whiff of geekiness”.

But she was more than impressed after meeting him, by his “rich, even sexy baritone” and by his “strange, stirring combination” of serenity and power. “This strange mix-of-everything-man”, when she finally let him kiss her, set off a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder”.

But throughout her husband’s life in politics, she fought to balance public and private needs, and to maintain her self-esteem. She agonised over what she feared was a cartoonish, racist image. She remembered being labeled “angry” and, by the Fox network, “Obama’s Baby Mama”. At times, she feared she was damaging her husband’s 2008 presidential campaign, especially after conservatives seized on a line from one of her speeches — taken out of context, she notes — that for the first time as an adult she was “really proud” of her country.

The remarks faded from the news, but she sensed lasting damage, a “pernicious seed”, a “perception” that she was “disgruntled and vaguely hostile”.

As the first black first lady, she knew she would be labeled “other” and would have to earn the aura of “grace” given freely to her white predecessors. She found confidence in repeating to herself a favorite chant: “Am I good enough? Yes I am.”

Becoming is part of a joint book deal with former President Barack Obama, whose memoir is expected next year, that is believed worth tens of millions of dollars. The Obamas have said they will donate a “significant portion” of their author proceeds to charity, including the Obama Foundation.