Michelle Obama ditched her campaign speech at a rally for Hillary Clinton today in Manchester, N.H., to discuss the language Donald Trump has used to describe women and the accusations of sexual assault he is facing.
“To dismiss this as locker-room talk is an insult to decent men everywhere,” she said, referring to comments Trump made off-camera during a 2005 taping of “Access Hollywood.”
Keeping with her tack of not addressing Trump by name, she said, “We have a candidate for president of the United States that has said things about women that are so shocking, so demeaning.”
Obama said she could not repeat the words that were used because they were so distasteful.
She described herself as “shocked” and compared Trump’s actions to those of men who sexually harass and disrespect women in the workplace, placing Trump’s comments in a realm familiar to women who have faced sexual assault or know those who have.
“It is that feeling of terror or violation that too many women have felt when someone has forced themselves on them,”she said.
“Too many are treating this as just another day’s headline, as if this is normal . . . just politics as usual,” she said, raising her voice. “Be clear, New Hampshire: This is not normal. This is not politics as usual. This is disgraceful; this is intolerable. It doesn’t matter what party you belong to . . . no woman deserves to be treated this way.”
She continued framing the election in moral, rather than political, terms. “I know it’s a campaign but this isn’t about politics. It’s about basic human decency — about right and wrong.”
She told the story of a 6-year-old boy who concluded that Trump could not be elected president because he called a woman “piggy.”
“If we have a candidate that brags about sexually assualting women, then how can we maintain our moral authority in the world?” she said, calling on voters to “stop this madness.”
“While our mothers and grandmothers were often powerless . . . we have all we need to determine the outcome of this election,” she said. “On Nov. 8, we as women, we as Americans, we as decent human beings can come together and declare that enough is enough and we do not tolerate this kind of behavior.”
“And remember this,” she said near the end of her remarks, “when they go low, we go . . .”
“High!” the crowd shouted, finishing her sentence. This phrase has become a mantra for Clinton’s campaign.
“We need to recover from our shock and depression and do what women have always done in this country,” she said. “We need to roll up our sleeves and get to work.”