First Lady Michelle Obama delivered an unusually personal speech at the Democratic National Convention on Monday, expressing her enthusiastic support for former First Lady Hillary Clinton while deriding Republican candidate Donald Trump without ever uttering his name.
“Don’t let anyone ever tell you that this country isn’t great,” she said in a pointed reference to Trump’s campaign slogan. “This, right now, is the greatest country on earth.”
Obama also got personal during the speech, speaking candidly about daughters Malia and Sasha, and how she and the president have coached them to remain above the fray while facing criticism.
“We don’t stoop to their level. Our motto is: ‘When they go low, we go high,’ ” she said.
The First Lady also recalled the first morning she sent Sasha and Malia off to school with armed Secret Service agents. Malia was just 10 – and Sasha only 7.
“I saw their little faces pressed up against the window and all I could think was, ‘What have we done?'” Obama said, adding that it struck her in that moment that “How well we managed this experience could truly make or break them.”
Pointedly, but without ever speaking the name Donald Trump, Obama went on to frame the lessons she and the president imparted to their girls around the rhetoric of Trump.
“We urge them to ignore those who question their father’s citizenship or faith,” she said. “We insist that the hateful language they hear from public figures on TV does not represent the true spirit of this country.”
Just after the speech, the president praised his wife on Twitter.
“Incredible speech by an incredible woman. Couldn’t be more proud & our country has been blessed to have her as FLOTUS. I love you, Michelle.”
The First Lady also spoke about the attributes that qualify Clinton for the presidency.
“What I admire most about Hillary is she never buckled under pressure. Hillary Clinton has never quit on anything in her life. When I think of the kind of president I want for my girls and all our children, that’s what I want – the proven strength to persevere,” she said.
“She knows the issues are not black and white, cannot be boiled down the 140 characters,” she added.
A DNC speaker twice before – both times in support of husbandBarack Obama – the First Lady made a case for why Americans should elect its first female president after taking the stage following a video about herself produced by J.J. Abrams.
Obama’s speech also comes just one week after Melania Trump’salleged plagiarism scandal. The Slovenian-born former model spoke at the Republican National Convention last week in support of husband Donald Trump and raised concerns of plagiarism once similarities were spotted between her speech and the one Obama delivered at the 2008 DNC.