In her highly anticipated memoir, former First Lady Michelle Obama goes into more detail than ever about her true feelings on President Donald Trump. Specifically, she writes that she’ll “never forgive him” for stirring up the false birther movement in 2011, thereby endangering her two daughters, Sasha and Malia (then 10 and 13, and now 17 and 20, respectively).
In Becoming, out Tuesday, Mrs. Obama blasts Trump’s birther crusade against her husband as “crazy and mean-spirited … its underlying bigotry and xenophobia hardly concealed.
“But it was also dangerous, deliberately meant to stir up the wingnuts and kooks,” she said, according to ABC News, which obtained a copy of the book.
The birther conspiracy first emerged during the 2008 presidential campaign. It was built on the false claim that then-presidential candidate Barack Obama was born in Kenya and not in his true birthplace of Hawaii, according to Time.com. After the birther movement lost traction, Trump breathed new life into it in 2011, repeatedly questioning Obama’s citizenship and publicly calling on him to release his birth certificate.
“[Barack Obama has] spent millions of dollars trying to get away from this issue. Millions of dollars in legal fees trying to get away from this issue,” Trump claimed during a March 2011 appearance on Fox News. “And I’ll tell you what, I brought it up, just routinely, and all of a sudden a lot facts are emerging and I’m starting to wonder myself whether or not he was born in this country.”
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On April 27, 2011, President Obama took the unusual step of releasing original copies of his long-form birth certificate with the hope of putting an end to the false rumors.
“We do not have time for this kind of silliness,” he said at the time, according to CNN.com. “I’ve been puzzled at the degree to which this [story] just kept on going.”
“We’re not going to be able to [meet challenges] if we spend time vilifying each other,” the then-president continued. “We’re not going to be able to do it if we just make stuff up and pretend that facts are not facts. We’re not going to be able to solve our problems if we get distracted by sideshows and carnival barkers.”
In Becoming, his wife reveals she was disgusted by Trump’s actions and the fact that they put her family at risk.
“What if someone with an unstable mind loaded a gun and drove to Washington? What if that person went looking for our girls?” she wrote, according to ABC News. “Donald Trump, with his loud and reckless innuendos, was putting my family’s safety at risk. And for this, I’d never forgive him.”
Becoming is on sale Tuesday.