"He cannot meet this moment. He simply cannot be who we need him to be for us," the former first lady said Monday night — adding a quote from Trump himself: "It is what it is"

By Sean Neumann
August 17, 2020 11:53 PM
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Michelle Obama delivered a passionate rebuke of President Donald Trump's time in office during a speech at the Democratic National Convention on Monday night.

Speaking remotely during the virtual convention, the former first lady called on voters to join her in supporting Joe Biden, who will accept the Democratic Party's presidential nomination on Thursday.

“Let me be as honest and clear as I possibly can: Donald Trump is the wrong president for our country," said Obama, 56. "He has had more than enough time to prove that he can do the job but he is clearly in over his head. He cannot meet this moment. He simply cannot be who we need him to be for us."

Then, the former first lady turned the president's own words against him: "It is what it is," she said.

Trump recited those words during an interview with Axios earlier this month when asked about the number of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) deaths in the U.S. this year.

More than 170,100 people have been killed by COVID-19 as of Monday, according to a New York Times tracker.

Former First Lady Michelle Obama at the Democratic National Convention on Monday
| Credit: PBS

“I am one of the handful of people living today who have seen firsthand the immense weight and the awesome power of the presidency,” Obama, 56, said Monday at the DNC. “Let me again tell you this: The job is hard.”

She listed a myriad of familiar criticisms of Trump's term in office, citing everything from his inflammatory, racist and sexist rhetoric to his decision to turn federal agents on protesters outside the White House in June.

“Being president doesn’t change who you are, it reveals who you are,” Obama said, adding, “well, a presidential election can reveal who we are too."

She said that “we’ve all been living the consequences” of the 2016 election as she called on voters to turn out for the Nov. 3 vote between Trump, 74, and Biden, 77.

Former First Lady Michelle Obama
| Credit: Michelle Obama

The former first lady has said in the past that she's not interested in making a run at the White House and in recent years she's transitioned toward a post-politics humanitarian and activist role — traveling the world to speak about girls' access to education, for example, and embracing her role as a motivational figure who has said she hopes to inspire future generations.

She noted her disdain for politics during her virtual speech Monday while emphasizing that voters need to participate in the 2020 election, echoing her work with her own nonprofit organization, When We All Vote.

Under Trump, Obama said that the U.S. is underperforming “not only on matters of policy but on matters of character.”

“We know that what’s going on in this country is just not right," she said. "This is not who we want to be.”

Former First Lady Michelle Obama
| Credit: Jim Bennett/Getty

While she delivered a blunt recap of Trump's presidency and noted his lack of "empathy" while in the White House, Obama also extolled the character of her husband's former vice president.

Biden will accept the Democratic Party's nomination on Thursday night following four nights of supportive speeches from the party's most prominent figures.

Monday night's slate of speakers was headlined by Obama.

"He is a profoundly decent man guided by faith," she said of Biden. "He knows what it takes to rescue an economy, beat back a pandemic and lead our country."