“This is a speech that the First Lady wanted to personally deliver for a long time,” the source reveals. “It came directly from the First Lady.”
Taking the stage at a Manchester, New Hampshire, rally for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, Obama forcefully slammed Trump in the wake of mounting allegations of sexual assault against the businessman.
“I can’t believe that I’m saying that a candidate for President of the United States has bragged about sexually assaulting women…. Be clear, this is not normal,” she stated firmly, her voice shaking with emotion throughout the 30 minute speech. “This is not politics as usual. This is disgraceful. It is intolerable. And it doesn’t matter what party you belong to … no woman deserves to be treated this way.”
She continued, “This isn’t about politics. It’s about basic human decency. It’s about right and wrong.”
The powerful words have earned much praise for the First Lady, including from the President himself, who said during his own speech Friday, “Those of you who didn’t have a chance to hear Michelle yesterday talk about what it meant to her — I could not be prouder of her.”
“I said yesterday, ‘This is why I married her, to improve my gene pool, so my daughters would be smarter than me,’ ” President Barack Obama told Clinton supporters in Ohio. “Yes, she was sticking up for women. Yes, she was thinking about the lessons we’re teaching the next generation. But she was also talking on behalf of men who know that we’re better than this; who don’t want to teach our sons the kinds of things that we’ve been hearing on television.”
After the release of a 2005 tape that featured Trump saying that he could grab women “by the p—-” because he’s a “star,” multiple people have come forward to claim that the mogul had made unwanted sexual advances toward them.
Two women told The New York Times that Trump sexually assaulted them, and a PEOPLE writer claimed Trump groped her at his Mar-a-Lago estate. Trump vehemently denies these allegations, and others recently leveled against him.
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Many — including celebrities — praised the First Lady for hitting the right tone with her speech amid the controversy.
“@FLOTUS watching you speak on @CNN in New Hampshire in tears. You are a true role model and leader,” Lady Gaga wrote on Twitter Thursday. “You are a true role model and leader.”
“This is the real Michelle Obama,” Desireé Rogers, former White House social secretary to President Obama, told CNN. “I think the emotion that you hear in her voice, her ability to really articulate personally what this means to her and how this can impact this nation, you’re hearing something from the heart. This is not made up, this is her.”
On Friday, Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, responded to Obama’s speech on CBS This Morning, saying, “I don’t understand the basis of her claim.”
Pence said that he doesn’t see Trump’s language as sexually predatory, but noted, “I have a lot of respect for the First Lady and the job she has done for the American people over the last seven and a half years.”
Reporting by SANDRA SOBIERAJ WESTFALL