Michelle Obama has written about the rage she felt toward Donald Trump for putting her family at risk of being killed by “wingnuts and kooks”.
In her red-hot memoir, called Becoming, Mrs Obama was referring to Mr Trump’s relentless campaign to have Barack Obama thrown out of office on the basis of the false claim that the President was not an American citizen.
She writes that Mr Trump’s crusade was “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”.
An unstable mind
This was a genuine cause of anxiety for the Obamas, such that they worried: “What if someone with an unstable mind loaded a gun and drove to Washington? What if that person went looking for our girls?”
Mr Trump had insisted that Mr Obama was not born in the US but on foreign soil – his father was Kenyan. In fact, the former president was born in Hawaii.
Under US law only “natural born citizens” — those born on US soil — can occupy the Oval Office.
“Donald Trump”, she writes, “with his loud and reckless innuendos, was putting my family’s safety at risk. And for this, I’d never forgive him”.
Mrs Obama, 54 also expresses disbelief over how so many women would choose a “misogynist” over the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, in 2016. She remembers how her body “buzzed with fury” after hearing the infamous Access Hollywood tape, in which Mr Trump bragged about sexually assaulting women.
Deeply personal revelations
The memoir isn’t merely a lashing of the fractious political climate and the divisive president. Mrs Obama also writes openly about everything from growing up in Chicago to confronting racism in public life and becoming the country’s first black First Lady.
But it’s also an intensely personal account of ordinary human striving and suffering with which millions of women will identify.
Mrs Obama writes about feeling “lost and alone” after suffering a miscarriage 20 years ago and how she and President Obama underwent IVF to conceive their two daughters, Sasha and Malia, now aged 17 and 20.
“We were trying to get pregnant, and it wasn’t going well,” Mrs Obama, writes.
“We had one pregnancy test come back positive, which caused us both to forget every worry and swoon with joy, but a couple of weeks later I had a miscarriage, which left me physically uncomfortable and cratered any optimism we felt.”
The convoluted and often prolonged IVF process is often a lonely business for women, as it was for Mrs Obama who recalls being alone to administer herself with injections to help hasten the process.
Feeling like a failure
Her “sweet, attentive husband” was at the state legislature, “leaving me largely on my own to manipulate my reproductive system into peak efficiency”.
The revelations are some of many included in the book from a former First Lady who has previously offered few extensive comments on her White House years.
“I felt like I failed because I didn’t know how common miscarriages were because we don’t talk about them,” the former first lady said in an interview broadcast on ABC’s Good Morning America.
“We sit in our own pain, thinking that somehow we’re broken.”