Michelle Obama Calls Trump an 'Infantile and Unpatriotic President' in Her Reaction to Capitol Riot
"The wreckage lays at the feet of a party and media apparatus that gleefully cheered [Trump] on," Michelle Obama said
Former First Lady Michelle Obama has released a statement addressing Wednesday's violent rioting at the U.S. Capitol.
On Thursday, Mrs. Obama shared a lengthy message on social media and shared how her "heart had fallen harder and faster than" she could remember, just hours after celebrating the victory of newly elected Georgia senator Raphael Warnock.
"I woke up yesterday elated by the news of Reverend Raphael Warnock's election victory. He'll be Georgia's first Black senator, and I was heartened by the idea that the senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church—the home parish of Dr. King and a spiritual and organizational hub during the Civil Rights Movement—would be representing his state in the United States Senate," Mrs. Obama began her statement.
"In just a few hours, though, my heart had fallen harder and faster than I can remember. Like all of you, I watched as a gang—organized, violent, and mad they'd lost an election—laid siege to the United States Capitol. They set up gallows. They proudly waved the traitorous flag of the Confederacy through the halls. They desecrated the center of American government. And once authorities finally gained control of the situation, these rioters and gang members were led out of the building not in handcuffs, but free to carry on with their days," she said, referencing the Black Lives Matter protests that took place in the summer.
"The day was a fulfillment of the wishes of an infantile and unpatriotic president who can't handle the truth of his own failures. And the wreckage lays at the feet of a party and media apparatus that gleefully cheered him on, knowing full well the possibility of consequences like these," Mrs. Obama continued.
Amid Trump’s unfounded claims of election fraud, thousands gathered in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday for a pro-Trump rally. While addressing his supporters, Trump encouraged them to march to the Capitol, where lawmakers were meeting to ratify the electoral college votes.
"It all left me with so many questions—questions about the future, questions about security, extremism, propaganda, and more. But there's one question I just can't shake: What if these rioters had been like the folks who go to Ebenezer Baptist Church every Sunday? What would have been different?" Mrs. Obama shared in her statement on Thursday.
"I think we all know the answer. This summer's Black Lives Matter protests were an overwhelmingly peaceful movement—our nation's largest demonstrations ever, bringing together people of every race and class and encouraging millions to re-examine their own assumptions and behavior. And yet, in city after city, day after day, we saw peaceful protestors met with brute force. We saw cracked skulls and mass arrests, law enforcement pepper spraying its way through a peaceful demonstration for a presidential photo op," the former first lady wrote.
"And for those who call others unpatriotic for simply taking a knee in silent protest, for those who wonder why we need to be reminded that Black Lives Matter at all, yesterday made it painfully clear that certain Americans are, in fact, allowed to denigrate the flag and symbols of our nation. They've just got to look the right way. What do all those folks have to say now?" she noted.
"Seeing the gulf between the responses to yesterday's riot and this summer's peaceful protests and the larger movement for racial justice is so painful. It hurts. And I cannot think about moving on or turning the page until we reckon with the reality of what we saw yesterday. True progress will be possible only once we acknowledge that this disconnect exists and take steps to repair it. And that also means coming to grips with the reality that millions voted for a man so obviously willing to burn our democracy down for his own ego," Mrs. Obama said.
The Becoming author also called on lawmakers who supported Trump to "forcefully rebuke him."
"I hurt for our country. And I wish I had all the solutions to make things better. I wish I had the confidence that people who know better will act like it for more than a news cycle or two. All I know is that now is a time for true patriotism. Now is the time for those who voted for this president to see the reality of what they've supported—and publicly and forcefully rebuke him and the actions of that mob," she said. "Now is the time for Silicon Valley companies to stop enabling this monstrous behavior—and go even further than they have already by permanently banning this man from their platforms and putting in place policies to prevent their technology from being used by the nation's leaders to fuel insurrection."
Mrs. Obama concluded, "And if we have any hope of improving this nation, now is the time for swift and serious consequences for the failure of leadership that led to yesterday's shame."
In a video message released hours after the breach, Trump finally called on his supporters to go home, while also telling them, "we love you, you're very special.”
The video, posted on Trump's social media, was soon removed or restricted on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere due to "risk of violence." On Thursday, Facebook went on to announce that Trump has been banned “indefinitely” from its platforms.
While continuing to repeat his unfounded claims of election fraud, on Thursday morning, Trump officially agreed to an "orderly" transition of power.
"History will rightly remember today’s violence at the Capitol, incited by a sitting president who has continued to baselessly lie about the outcome of a lawful election, as a moment of great dishonor and shame for our nation. But we’d be kidding ourselves if we treated it as a total surprise," he wrote, going on to take aim at Trump and his supporters' baseless claims of election fraud.
"Their fantasy narrative has spiraled further and further from reality, and it builds upon years of sown resentments. Now we’re seeing the consequences, whipped up into a violent crescendo," he continued.
Obama then voiced his support for those who have condemned the riots, saying, "I’ve been heartened to see many members of the President’s party speak up forcefully today."
"We need more leaders like these — right now and in the days, weeks, and months ahead as President-Elect Biden works to restore a common purpose to our politics," he added. "It’s up to all of us as Americans, regardless of party, to support him in that goal."