First Lady Michelle Obama briefly addressed the hullabaloo around Donald Trump finally admitting Friday that her husband was indeed born in the United States, choosing to focus on the achievements of her husband’s presidency and encouraging voters to pick someone optimistic to succeed him.
Obama was greeted with cheers and shouts of “four more years!” in her first campaign trail speech in support of Hillary Clinton at George Mason University in Virginia. While she spent much of the speech talking up Clinton’s bona fides, she did dwell for a minute on the topic of the day: the birther movement.
The first lady did not mention Trump by name, but she praised the President Barack Obama for “going high” when his opponents “go low” and question whether he is truly a U.S. citizen.
“Back then, people had all kinds of questions about what kind of President Barack would be. Things like, ‘Does he understand us?’ ‘Will he protect us?'” she said. “Then, of course, there were those who continued to question for the past eight years up through this very day whether my husband was even born in this country. Well, during his time in office, I think Barack has answered those questions with the example he set by going high when they go low and he answered those questions with progress we’ve achieved together.”
Michelle Obama went on to say her husband’s achievements in office were the ultimate rebuttal to the birther movement’s conspiracy theories.
While the overall tone of her speech was upbeat and positive, she allowed herself one more thinly-veiled dig at Trump.
“We need someone who is compassionate,” Obama said. “Someone who is unifying. Someone who will be a role model for our kids. Someone who is not just in this for themselves but for the good of this country. See, at the end of the day, as I’ve said before, the presidency doesn’t change who you are. It reveals who you are.”
“So if a candidate is erratic and threatening, if a candidate traffics in prejudice, fears, and lies on the trail, if a candidate has no clear plans to implement their goals, if they disrespect their fellow citizens including folks who made extraordinary sacrifices for our country, let me tell you, that is who they are,” she added said to applause.