Former first lady Michelle Obama writes in her forthcoming memoir that President Trump’s promotion of the so-called birther movement is something she will “never forgive him for.”
Trump pushed the unfounded theory beginning around 2011 that President Obama was born in Kenya, rather than in Hawaii, and was therefore ineligible to be president.
The accusations gained steam among some on the right with the help of Trump’s Twitter feed, culminating in repeated calls for Obama to release his birth certificate and his college admissions records.
Trump at one point claimed to have seen the president’s birth certificate himself, which he said would back up his claims, although he never released the proof he claimed to have.
The issue fizzled out near the end of Trump’s run for president in 2016, when he held a press conference to announce that he did, in fact, believe that Obama was born in the U.S., but declined to take responsibility for promoting the conspiracy or apologize to Obama for spreading the false claim, seen by many as racist.
Trump has also spread the false claim that the Obamas are Muslims, a statement that has also been identified by many as a racist dog whistle.
Though then-President Obama poked fun at the conspiracy occasionally, Michelle Obama writes in her book that she worried Trump’s claims would incite violence against her husband and her family.
“The whole thing was crazy and mean-spirited, of course, its underlying bigotry and xenophobia hardly concealed. But it was also dangerous, deliberately meant to stir up the wingnuts and kooks,” she says in the book. “What if someone with an unstable mind loaded a gun and drove to Washington? What if that person went looking for our girls? Donald Trump, with his loud and reckless innuendos, was putting my family’s safety at risk. And for this I’d never forgive him.”
Trump responded to reporters Friday morning that Michelle Obama “got paid a lot of money to write a book and they always expect a little controversy.”
“I’ll give you a little controversy back, I’ll never forgive (President Barack Obama) for what he did to our US military. It was depleted, and I had to fix it,” Trump said. “What he did to our military made this country very unsafe for you and you and you.”
In her much-anticipated memoir, “Becoming,” Obama says she reacted in shock to Trump’s 2016 election and tried to “block it all out.”
Obama also rips Trump for his behavior toward women.
She denounces him over the infamous 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape, which was released weeks before the 2016 election, in which he bragged about sexually assaulting women.
She also criticizes him for his debate behavior toward 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. She refers to Trump trying to “stalk” Clinton by following her around the stage and “trying to diminish her presence.”
Obama infers Trump’s message, which she conveys in darkened print: “I can hurt you and get away with it.”