One of the things Michelle Obama is most famous for–along with her intelligence, grace, good humor, compassion, anti-obesity campaign, and dance skills–is the phrase, “When they go low, we go high.” And in her new book, she finally reveals the toll Donald Trump’s lowness took on her–and much more than that.
In anticipation of next week’s release of Obama’s new memoir, Becoming, Friday’s Good Morning America teased snippets from the former First Lady’s interview with Robin Roberts that will air in full tonight. At one point, host George Stephanopoulos read an excerpt from the book, revealing the author’s reaction to Donald Trump’s racist Birther campaign. For anyone who lived in a cave from 2011 to 2016, Trump burst onto the political scene by repeatedly insisting Barack Obama was secretly a Kenyan-born Muslim and a liar and an illegitimate president. Trump kept up the lie for five years before eventually blaming it on Hillary Clinton in 2016 (yes, that really happened) and never once coming close to apologizing.
“The whole [birther] 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 writes in the book, according to The Washington Post.
“‘What if someone with an unstable mind loaded a gun and drove to Washington?'” Stephanopoulos read on Good Morning America, quoting an excerpt from Becoming. “‘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.'”
Although one might have assumed Michelle Obama felt this way, it’s a revelation to have her actually put her feelings out into the world, knowing she might have to attend events with Trump for the foreseeable future.
And Becoming‘s revelations do not end there.
Elsewhere in the interview, the former First Lady disclosed that she suffered a miscarriage 20 years ago, and that she and her husband conceived both of their daughters through in vitro fertilization.
.@MichelleObama opens up to @RobinRoberts in revealing new interview; says she felt "lost and alone” after suffering miscarriage 20 years ago. Watch @ABC special covering her journey to motherhood and more from her memoir, "Becoming," Sunday night 9/8c. https://t.co/ONXwpuZ3WF pic.twitter.com/1Teb5ycWIe
— Good Morning America (@GMA) November 9, 2018
“I felt like I failed because I didn’t know how common miscarriages were because we don’t talk about them,” Obama told Roberts. “We sit in our own pain, thinking that somehow we’re broken.”
By talking openly about these experiences in this interview and within her memoir, Michelle Obama is inviting women and their partners to speak more openly about IVF and miscarriages. Both are incredibly common sources of private anguish, and advancing public discourse on them can only make people going through these experiences feel less alone.
Finally, Obama also reveals that she and Barack underwent marriage counseling, which should shed some light on the hard work it takes to achieve what looked, in former White House photographer Pete Souza’s photos, like an effortlessly perfect marriage. (There is no such thing.) As she said to Roberts, “I know too many young couples who struggle and think that somehow there’s something wrong with them. And I want them to know that Michelle and Barack Obama, who have a phenomenal marriage and who love each other, we work on our marriage. And we get help with our marriage when we need it.”
UPDATE: Trump has weighed in on Michelle Obama’s comments about him: “I haven’t seen it. I guess she wrote a book. She got paid a lot of money to write a book,” he said when a reporter asked about her comments. Then the reporter told him what exactly Obama said. “Oh, Michelle Obama said that? They always insist that you come up with controversial. Well I’ll give you a little controversy back. I’ll never forgive him for what he did to our United States military by not funding it properly. It was depleted. Everything was old and tired.”