On Thursday, April 5, Michelle Obama had the opportunity to talk about President Donald Trump, and — #bless — she did not hold back. The former first lady was very clear about how she thinks Trump has been doing as president, especially as it compares to how her husband did. And if you've been looking for a way to succinctly describe how the two are different as president, Michelle Obama's comparison of Trump as a parent is just so exactly perfect.
It all went down at the Simmons Leadership Conference in Boston on Thursday, where the former first lady was featured in a closing keynote conversation. Helen Drinan, the president of Simmons College, interviewed Obama onstage. The conversation was wide-ranging, as it went on for about an hour. Drinan kicked off the conversation by asking Obama how it feels to see things happening in the world that don't exactly reflect her and Barack's influence.
Obama began her response by explaining that she's been using a lot of what her husband taught her, namely, "temperament and patience." She said that she's been keeping in mind that "the arc of history is long," which is a paraphrase of a Martin Luther King Jr. quote that her husband frequently uses, and reminding herself that you do the work you think is right to help move that arc forward, not to get personal glory.
You can see the full video of the conversation here:
After prefacing her answer by explaining how she's considering modern times, Obama got into how she's viewing this presidency. She said,
We're at a point in time where we have to figure out who we want to be as a nation. We've had two stark examples of what we can be. I certainly know what direction I want the country to go in, and I want to continue to build a country that's based on empathy and compassion and generosity and goodwill. I want to be in a nation where we give one another the benefit of the doubt, where we have open arms and we're full of inclusion, but we have to fight for that vision. It just doesn't happen, and we can't take it for granted.
With that in mind, she said that what she believes is happening now is "what happens when we take things for granted," which, she indicated, people did during the Barack Obama presidency. During those eight years, Obama said, it was like living with the "good parent" who "told you to eat your carrots and go to bed on time."
"And now, perhaps, we have the other parent in the house," she said. "We thought it’d feel fun — maybe it feels fun to some for now because we can eat candy all day and stay up late, and not follow the rules."
Still, Obama said, at some point, American will "look at those two experiences and see how we feel," and, she said, "it's going to take young people, the next generation of leaders, to really determine what kind of a world they want to be in — and voting has got to be a part of that equation."
Although Obama is out here telling you to vote (and yeah, it's an election year, make sure you're registered now), she also made it clear on Thursday that you are not going to be able to vote for her at any point in the future.
"I've never had the passion for politics," the former first lady said. "I just happened to be married to somebody who has the passion for politics, and he drug me kicking and screaming into this arena."
Although she understands that people want her to run for president, she said, "We just can't find the women we like and ask them to do it, because there are millions of women who are inclined and do have the passion for politics." And, she said, she's not one of them.
But you know what's cool, my friends? You can still vote, even if Michelle Obama is not on the ballot. So if you like her, listen to her, and get out to the polls this year.