First lady tried ‘to block out Trump win’

The West Australian - - WORLD -

For­mer first lady Michelle Obama blasts Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump in her new book, writ­ing how she re­acted in shock the night she learnt he would re­place her hus­band in the Oval Of­fice and tried to “block it all out”.

She de­nounces Mr Trump’s “birther” cam­paign ques­tion­ing her hus­band’s cit­i­zen­ship, call­ing it big­oted and dan­ger­ous, “meant to stir up the wingnuts and kooks”.

In her me­moir, Be­com­ing, which will be out on Tues­day, Mrs Obama writes openly about ev­ery­thing from grow­ing up in Chicago to con­fronting racism in pub­lic life to her amaze­ment at be­com­ing the coun­try’s first black first lady.

She also re­flects on early strug­gles in her mar­riage to Barack Obama as he be­gan his po­lit­i­cal ca­reer and was of­ten away. She writes they met with a coun­sel­lor “a hand­ful of times” and she came to re­alise that she was more “in charge” of her hap­pi­ness than she had re­alised. “This was my pivot point,” Mrs Obama ex­plains. “My mo­ment of self-ar­rest.”

She writes that she as­sumed Trump was “grand­stand­ing” when he an­nounced his pres­i­den­tial run in 2015. She ex­presses dis­be­lief over how so many women would choose a “misog­y­nist” over Hil­lary Clin­ton, “an ex­cep­tion­ally qual­i­fied fe­male can­di­date”.

She re­mem­bers how her body “buzzed with fury” af­ter see­ing the in­fa­mous “Ac­cess Hol­ly­wood” tape, in which Mr Trump brags about sex­u­ally as­sault­ing women.

She also ac­cuses Mr Trump of us­ing body lan­guage to “stalk” Mrs Clin­ton dur­ing an elec­tion de­bate. Mr Trump’s mes­sage, ac­cord­ing to Mrs Obama, in words which ap­pear in the book in dark­ened print: “I can hurt you and get away with it.”

Mrs Obama is ad­mired world­wide and has of­fered few ex­ten­sive com­ments on her White House years. She will launch her pro­mo­tional tour at Chicago’s United Cen­tre, where thou­sands have pur­chased tick­ets — from just un­der $30 to thou­sands of dol­lars — to at­tend the event mod­er­ated by Oprah Win­frey. While some have crit­i­cised the price as too high, 10 per cent of tick­ets at each event are be­ing do­nated to lo­cal char­i­ties, schools and com­mu­nity groups.

In Be­com­ing, Mrs Obama shares pain and joy. She writes lov­ingly of he would not re­cuse him­self (step aside) from su­per­vis­ing the high­stakes probe even though he has re­peat­edly de­nounced it in pub­lic as “go­ing too far”.

A top­pling blast of lust.

her fam­ily and tells of her courtship with her fu­ture hus­band, whom she met when both were at a Chicago law firm.

But she was more than im­pressed af­ter meet­ing him, by his “rich, even sexy bari­tone”. “This strange mix-of-ev­ery­thing­man”, when she fi­nally let him kiss her, set off a “top­pling blast of lust, grat­i­tude, ful­fill­ment, won­der”.

But through­out her hus­band’s life in pol­i­tics, she fought to bal­ance pub­lic and pri­vate needs, and main­tain her self-es­teem. She ag­o­nised over what she feared was a car­toon­ish, racist im­age. She re­mem­bered be­ing seen as “an­gry” and, by the Fox net­work, as “Obama’s Baby Mama”.

As the first black first lady, she knew she would be la­belled “other” and have to earn the aura of “grace” given freely to her white pre­de­ces­sors. She found con­fi­dence in re­peat­ing to her­self a favourite chant: “Am I good enough? Yes I am.”

Be­com­ing is part of a joint book deal with Barack Obama, whose me­moir is ex­pected next year, that is be­lieved worth tens of mil­lions of dol­lars. The Oba­mas have said they will give a big por­tion of pro­ceeds to char­ity.

Michelle Obama

Pic­ture: AP

Protesters at the White House.

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