Michelle Obama hit the campaign trail few days back to talk about the profound choice in this election, and she spoke from the heart about what it means—as a woman, a mother, and a professional—to hear how Donald Trump treats and talks about women.
The whole speech is worth a read or a watch. But if you only have time for highlights, here are a few moments from the first lady’s remarks that we’ll be thinking about for a long time to come.
- Whether you’re a young girl or the first lady of the United States, Donald Trump’s comments and actions hurt.
“And I can’t believe I’m saying that—a candidate for president of the United States has bragged about sexually assaulting women. And I have to tell you that I can’t stop thinking about this. It has shaken me to my core in a way that I couldn’t have predicted. So while I’d love nothing more than to pretend like this isn’t happening and to come out here and do my normal campaign speech, it would be dishonest and disingenuous to me to just move on to the next thing like this was all just a bad dream. 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. Because this was not just a lewd conversation, this was not just ‘locker room banter.’ This was a powerful individual speaking openly and freely about sexually predatory behavior and actually bragging about kissing and groping women, using language that was so obscene, many of us were worried about our children hearing it when we turned on the TV. And to make matters worse, it now seems very clear that this isn’t an isolated incident. It’s one of countless examples of how he has treated women his whole life, and I have to tell you, I’ve listened to this, and I feel it so personally. And I’m sure that many of you do, too—particularly the 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. That is cruel. It’s frightening. And the truth is, it hurts. …
- This is not normal—and we can’t pretend like it is.
“Too many are treating this as just another day’s headline. As if our outrage is overblown or unwarranted, as if this is normal, just politics as usual. But New Hampshire, be clear: 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, independent. No woman deserves to be treated this way. None of us deserves this kind of abuse.
“And I know it’s a campaign, but this isn’t about politics. It’s about basic human decency. It’s about right and wrong, and we simply cannot endure this or expose our children to this any longer, not for another minute, let alone for four years.”
- This isn’t just about our daughters. It’s about our sons, too.
“Now is the time for all of us to stand up and say, ‘Enough is enough.’ This has got to stop right now. Because consider this: If all of this is painful to us as grown women, what do you think this is doing to our children? What messages are our little girls hearing about who they should look like, how they should act? What lessons are they learning about their value as professionals, as human beings? About their dreams and aspirations?
“And how is this affecting men and boys in this country? Because I can tell you that the men in my life do not talk about women like this, and I know that my family is not unusual.
“And to dismiss this as everyday locker room talk is an insult to decent men everywhere. The men that you and I know don’t 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 treated and demeaned and disrespected. And like us, these men are worried about the impact this election is having on our boys who are looking for role models of what it means to be a man. … Strong men, strong men, men who are truly role models don’t need to put down women to make themselves feel powerful.”
- There’s one candidate for president who’s ready to be a leader and a role model.
“We know that when things get tough, Hillary doesn’t complain. She doesn’t blame others. She doesn’t abandon ship for something easier. No, Hillary Clinton has never quit on anything in her life. So, in Hillary, we have a candidate who has dedicated her life to public service, someone who has waited her turn and helped out while waiting. She is an outstanding mother. She has raised a phenomenal young woman. She is a loving, loyal wife. She’s a devoted daughter who cared for her mother until her final days.
“And if any of us had raised a daughter like Hillary Clinton, we would be so proud. We would be proud. And regardless of who her opponent might be, no one could be more qualified for this job than Hillary, no one.”
- Women have the power to stop Trump.
“Here’s the beauty. We have everything we need to stop this madness. You see, while our mothers and grandmothers were often powerless to change their circumstances, today we, as women, have all the power we need to determine the outcome of this election.
“We have knowledge, we have a voice, we have a vote, and on November the 8th, we as women, we as Americans, we as decent human beings can come together and declare that enough is enough, and we do not tolerate this kind of behavior in our country.”
- Not voting is really a vote for Trump.
“Here is the truth: Either Hillary Clinton or her opponent will be elected president this year, and if you vote for someone other than Hillary or if you don’t vote at all, then you are helping to elect her opponent. And just think about how you will feel if that happens.
“Imagine waking up on November the 9th and looking into the eyes of your daughter or son, or looking into your own eyes as you stare into the mirror. Imagine how you’ll feel if you stayed home or if you didn’t do everything possible to elect Hillary. We simply cannot let that happen. We cannot allow ourselves to be so disgusted that we just shut off the TV and walk away. And we can’t just sit around wringing our hands.
“Now we need to recover from our shock and depression and do what women have always done in this country: We need to roll up our sleeves, we need to get to work. Because remember this, when they go low, we go … [AUDIENCE: High!]
“Yes we do.”
If Michelle Obama’s words have you fired up and ready to go, make sure Hillary knows you have her back and chip in now.