If Michelle Obama could welcome Donald Trump into the White House, surely the sitting president can swallow his pride and assist President-elect Joe Biden in the transition to power. On Nov. 16, the former first lady shared a mic-drop message on Instagram subtly addressing Trump (and in part, Melania) as she reflected on the "hurt" and disappointment she felt after the 2016 election. Did that stop Michelle from acting with "strength and maturity" when Inauguration Day came around? Of course not. The Trumps should be taking a page from her book.
Instead, we've seen Donald disrespect the election process and refuse to concede. He planted baseless lies of widespread voter fraud, in turn riling his base. For Michelle, these egotistical moves put our country's "health and safety in danger." She reminded Donald, and all Americans, "This is not a game."
Four years ago, Michelle forced herself to put her personal feelings aside to honor the electoral process — despite Donald's dangerous, racist lies about her family. Barack's staff prepared Donald's team to take office. Michelle willingly answered Melania's questions about being first lady and "what it's like to raise kids in the White House." Although she wasn't ready to forgive, Michelle committed herself to the voters. She (not so subtly) suggested Donald do the same today.
Read Michelle's full message from Instagram below:
This week, I've been reflecting a lot on where I was four years ago. Hilary Clinton had just been dealt a tough loss by a far closer margin than the one we've seen this year. I was hurt and disappointed—but the votes had been counted and Donald Trump had won. The American people had spoken. And one of the great responsibilities of the presidency is to listen when they do. So my husband and I instructed our staffs to do what George and Laura Bush had done for us: run a respectful, seamless transition of power—one of the hallmarks of American democracy. We invited the folks from the president-elect's team into our offices and prepared detailed memos for them, offering what we'd learned over the past eight years.
I have to be honest and say that none of this was easy for me. Donald Trump had spread racist lies about my husband that had put my family in danger. That wasn't something I was ready to forgive. But I knew that, for the sake of our country, I had to find the strength and maturity to put my anger aside. So I welcomed Melania Trump into the White House and talked with her about my experience, answering every question she had—from the heightened scrutiny that comes with being First Lady to what it's like to raise kids in the White House.
I knew in my heart it was the right thing to do—because our democracy is so much bigger than anybody's ego. Our love of country requires us to respect the results of an election even when we don't like them or wish it had gone differently—the presidency doesn't belong to any one individual or any one party. To pretend that it does, to play along with these groundless conspiracy theories—whether for personal or political gain—is to put our country's health and security in danger. This isn't a game. So I want to urge all Americans, especially our nation's leaders, regardless of party, to honor the electoral process and do your part to encourage a smooth transition of power, just as sitting president have done throughout our history.