First Lady Michelle Obama and former First Lady Laura Bush reunited on Friday to discuss their mutual support for U.S. service members, veterans and their families during a conference at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.
In comments that many saw as a direct criticism of GOP nominee Donald Trump – who has come under fire in the past for his casual remarks about the use of nuclear weapons and for threatening to “bomb the hell out of ISIS” – Obama warned that anyone who wants to be the commander in chief should not “pop off about going to war” because it’s “serious business and lives are changed forever.”
“So I would hope that any commander in chief that would have the privilege of serving would understand that these are real lives and real families that are impacted,” said Obama, who in 2011 launched the Joining Forces military initiative with Jill Biden, Vice President Joe Biden’s wife.
The first lady went on to reflect on her and President Obama’s visits with wounded service members at military hospitals, calling the visits a “sobering experience.” But she added that President Obama’s recent hospital visits are much shorter than the hours-long visits she and her husband made during the early years of his presidency. “And that feels good,” she said.
Bush – who along with her husband, Former President George W. Bush, supports service members and veterans through the Bush Institute – said that first ladies, like presidents, also worry about putting troops in harm’s way.
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“You worry in the White House when you know that there are troops in harm’s way, and you think about them every single night when you get in bed,” she said. “And there, where you’re in the lap of luxury, really – beautiful house where your sheets are changed every single day –and you think when you get in bed about our troops are laying out on the ground somewhere.
“And so I would say that the main thing about having troops in harm’s way when you live there is that you worry about them all the time, every single day,” she added.