As United States President-elect Donald Trump applauds his supporters’ “vicious” and “violent” conduct during the election campaign, outgoing First Lady Michelle Obama says the White House needs a “grown-up” in charge.
Mr Trump made the comments during his US “thank you” tour on Saturday night (AEDT), during which he has travelled the nation appearing in states that helped him defeat Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton in the November election.
Addressing the tone of the campaign – which was characterised by personal attacks between Mr Trump, Mrs Clinton and the pair’s followers – the billionaire thanked fans for their “vicious” and “violent” efforts and fanned the flames of division further by mocking Mrs Clinton’s “deplorables” jibe.
“You were vicious, violent, screaming ‘where’s the wall? We want the wall!'” Mr Trump said to a rally in Orlando, Florida. “[You were] screaming ‘prison, prison, lock her up’. I mean you are going crazy … you were nasty and mean and vicious and you wanted to win, right?”
Mr Trump then addressed his own supporters by using Mrs Clinton’s controversial descriptor: “What ever happened to deplorable? They’re [Mr Trump’s supporters] not so deplorable,” he said.
“They’re not so deplorable anymore, in fact the other side [the Democratic Party] is trying to figure ‘well in four years how do we get some of these deplorables to our side?’”
During the election campaign, Mrs Clinton caused major controversy by saying of Mr Trump’s fans: “You could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic – you name it.”
But Mr Trump wasn’t going to let the crowd leave too fired up.
In a change of tone that mirrored some of the post-election rhetoric in which he has urged the nation to unify, Mr Trump seemed to tell his followers they had to calm down.
“But now, now, it’s much different. Now you’re laid back, you’re cool, you’re mellow, right … and you’re not nearly as vicious or violent, right? Because we won right?”
Watch Donald Trump’s comments:
As Mr Trump gave the world an idea of what he would bring to the White House, First Lady Michelle Obama told television legend Oprah about what was required to succeed as president.
In the interview, which will air on Tuesday (AEDT) on CBS in the US, Mrs Obama said the election had reinforced her view that her husband President Barack Obama’s administration was able to inspire hope and calmness.
“I feel that Barack has been that for the nation in ways that people will come to appreciate,” Mrs Obama said.
“Having a grown-up in the White House, who can say to you in times of crisis and turmoil, ‘hey, it’s gonna be OK. Let’s remember the good things that we have. Let’s look at the future. Let’s look at all the things that we’re building’.”
“All of this is important for our kids to stay focused and to feel like their work isn’t in vain, that their lives aren’t in vain,” she added.
Mrs Obama, who along with Mr Obama campaigned hard against Mr Trump, said she had already felt a “difference” in hope since the Republican won the election.
“We feel the difference now … now we’re feeling what not having hope feels like,” she said.
“Hope is necessary. It’s a necessary concept. And Barack didn’t just talk about hope because he thought it was just a nice slogan to get votes.”