First Lady Michelle Obama issued a powerful, personal and blistering indictment of Donald Trump's behavior toward women in a speech in New Hampshire on Thursday.
Obama appeared on the campaign trail the day after four women came forward to share stories of the Republican nominee allegedly forcing himself on them sexually. Trump denied he had ever done so at the presidential debate on Sunday, despite bragging to the contrary to former Access Hollywood host Billy Bush in a recently unearthed videotape recorded in 2005.
In New Hampshire, the first lady expressed her deeply-felt revulsion at Trump's comments about sexual assault. "I can't stop thinking about this," she told the Granite state audience. "It has shaken me to my core in a way that I couldn't have predicted.
"This is not something that we can ignore. It's not something we can just sweep under the rug as just another disturbing footnote in a sad election season," she added. "Because this was not just a lewd conversation; this wasn't just locker room banter. This was a powerful individual speaking freely and openly about sexually predatory behavior and actually bragging about kissing and groping women using language so obscene that many of us worried about our children hearing it when we turn on the TV. And to make matters worse, it now seems very clear that this isn't an isolated incident — it's one of countless examples of how he has treated women his whole life.”
Obama spoke in strong terms about the impact Trump's previous comments have had on her throughout the election. "I feel it so personally. And I'm sure many of you do too, particularly the women," she said. "The shameful comments about our bodies. The disrespect of our intellect. The belief that you can do anything you want to a woman? It it cruel. It's frightening. And the truth is it hurts.”
She pushed back on the idea, advanced by the Trump campaign, that his behavior is nothing out of the ordinary.
"Too many are treating this as just another day's headline. As if our outrage is overblown or unwarranted. As if this is normal," Obama said. "Be clear: this is not normal. This is not politics as usual. This is disgraceful. It is intolerable. And it doesn't matter what party you belong to: Democrat, Independent, Republican — no woman deserves to be treated this way. None of us deserves this kind of abuse.
"This isn't about politics, it's about basic human decency," Obama said.
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