During her book tour appearance, Obama did not once name President Trump — who built his political brand in part on outrageous attacks on her husband

By Adam Carlson
April 17, 2019 09:07 AM
Former First Lady Michelle Obama (left) and President Donald Trump
Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic; Ida Mae Astute/ABC via Getty

During a Sunday stop on the book tour for her hugely popular memoir, former First Lady Michelle Obama jokingly compared President Donald Trump‘s administration to the parenting style of a “divorced dad.”

CNN anchor Dana Bash called it “remarkably unwoke,” and some divorced fathers have taken umbrage at the remark.

Video from the London event, which was hosted by Stephen Colbert, shows Obama made the comment after Colbert said, “America is like a teenager.”

“We are a teenager, we talked about this, we’re like a teenage country,” Obama, 55, agreed.

“And we’re confused ’cause our body is changing,” joked Colbert, 54, prompting Obama’s reply:

“We’re changing all over the place. And we come from a broken family. We’re a teenager, where we’re a little unsettled and having good parents is tough. Sometimes you spend weekends with divorced dad and that feels like it’s fun but then you get sick — that’s what America’s going through. We’re kind of living with divorced dad right now.”

According to video from the event, published by The Independent, Colbert then laughed and did a Trump impersonation.

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The comparison has been met with criticism. CNN reporter Kate Bennett said it “was a really big misstep on her part” and the network aired a segment rounding up negative reactions from social media users who said they were divorced dads.

In a Tuesday blog post, writer Jordan Shapiro, a divorced father of two, said Obama’s “decision to perpetuate the divorced dad stigma is unfortunate. It not only undermines millions of unmarried fathers who are trying to do what’s best for their children, but also reinforces a way of conceptualizing family life that does more harm than good.”

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According to the Washington Post, Obama did not once name President Trump — who built his political brand in part on outrageous attacks on President Barack Obama, including peddling the conspiracy theory that he was not born in America.

At Sunday’s event, Mrs. Obama made other references to Trump’s divisive time in office.

“Let’s just stop and think about — for anybody who had problems with Barack Obama — what we were troubled by. There were never any indictments,” she said, according to The Guardian.

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“It’s time for us to roll up our sleeves and if we are not happy with the state of things then, in democracies, we have votes,” Mrs. Obama said. “We have to pay attention and we have to be engaged and we can’t take our rights and liberties for granted. Because if we don’t vote, somebody will.”

She said “we’re in a low, but we’ve been lower” and “any story has its highs and lows, but it continues.”

“We’ve had tougher times with more to fear,” she told Colbert. “We’ve lived through slavery and the Holocaust and segregation and we’ve always come out on the other end, better and stronger.”