Michelle Obama Says "Our Country Is in Chaos" Because of Trump

Michelle Obama
Gary Miller/Getty Images

Michelle Obama

The president "continues to gaslight the American people by acting like this pandemic is not a real threat," says the former first lady of Trump's coronavirus response.

Michelle Obama opened up her "closing argument" before the 2020 presidential election by saying, "Our country is in chaos because of a president who isn’t up to the job."

In addition to going after Donald Trump over his "breathtaking failures" in his pandemic response, Obama accuses the president of being "racist" when he and other Republicans are "stoking fears about Black and brown Americans," "lying about how minorities will destroy the suburbs" and "whipping up violence and intimidation" amid largely peaceful protests.

"Vote for Joe Biden like your lives depend on it," she urges.

The 24-minute video (watch below) was released on Tuesday on behalf of Democratic presidential nominee Biden and sees the former first lady urging Americans — especially undecided Black, brown and young voters — to make a plan to vote in the upcoming election, highlighting President Trump's missteps in handling the coronavirus pandemic and presenting Biden as the leader who can put an end to all the chaos.

"If we want to regain any kind of stability, we've got to ensure that every eligible voter is informed and engaged in this election. Because the stakes are on display every day. Not just in the headlines, but in our families," says Obama. "If you're a parent like me, you're feeling the consequences of this president's failure to take this pandemic seriously. From his constant downplaying of the importance of masks and social distancing, to his relentless pressure on schools to open without offering a clear plan, or meaningful support to keep students and teachers safe."

Sharing an anecdotal example, Obama said many of her daughters' college-aged friends have tested positive for the virus or are living with someone who has tested positive. "As a mom, it is frightening thinking about all of these young people, who were just our babies yesterday, quarantined alone in dorms or apartments with little or no support as the disease continues to spread, unable to come home if their symptoms get worse. Just imagine the toll that worry is taking on families across this country."

Despite the lower risk to America's young people, Obama says of the virus' longterm effects, "The truth is, we just don't know yet. And we simply cannot trust this president to tell us the truth about anything."

Broadening out to families with younger children, or those who are juggling two jobs and anxious about affording childcare, Obama speaks of a collective "endless cycle of uncertainty" due to inaction from the White House.

"It's painful to think that months into this crisis, this is still where we are. With no clear plan, no peace of mind," she says. "And the worst part is, it didn't have to be like this. Look around the world: so many other countries aren't experiencing this level of extended suffering and uncertainty. These countries were hit by the same virus as we were, they have the same kind of resources to contain it as we did. But what they didn't have to contend with was this president."

She continues, "A man who had every resource at his disposal. The finest medical experts, our best intelligence. And yet ignore all the advice and fail to produce a plan to provide enough tests for worried families or protective equipment for our health workers. A man who knew how deadly this virus is, but who lied to us and told us it would just disappear. Who, in the greatest crisis of our lifetimes, doubled down on division and resentment, railed against measures that could have mitigated the damage and continues to hold massive events without requiring masks or social distancing, knowingly exposing his own supporters to a dangerous virus."

Seven months into the pandemic, Obama says Trump "still won't wear a mask consistently and encourage others to do the same, even when those simple actions could save countless lives. Instead, he continues to gaslight the American people by acting like this pandemic is not a real threat."

Obama's video comes the morning after Trump left Walter Reed hospital and returned to the White House to continue his recovery from the virus. Upon arrival, a COVID-positive Trump removed his mask and soon after, continued to downplay the deadly virus in a video that doubled down on his earlier tweet by telling Americans not to be afraid of COVID-19.

In America, 210,000 people have been killed by COVID-19 and seven million have been infected.

When sharing her video to social media on Tuesday, Obama acknowledged that she weighed not going public, but that "the events of the past few days are a bracing reminder of the tragedy that has been this administration’s response to this crisis."

During her video address, Obama spotlighted America's resilience "in the face of all this incompetence" and named Biden as the person who can get the virus under control. Biden's pandemic plan, says Obama, is to enlist a broad coalition of leaders to develop a national strategy that will include mandatory mask-wearing and free testing, and resources for schools; he will also listen to doctors and scientists to ensure a safe and widely available vaccine.

"How a president focuses their time and energy in office is a direct reflection of the life they've lived before entering the White House," she says. "A president's policies are a direct reflection of their values and we're seeing that truth on display with out current president, who has devoted his life to enriching himself, his family and other wealthy people he truly understands."

She references Trump's use of using "fear and confusion and spreading lies to win," and explains how personal that strategy is to her and the millions of Americans who look like her. "As a Black woman who has, like the overwhelming majority of people of color in this nation, done everything in my power to live a life of dignity and service and honesty, the knowledge that any of my fellow Americans is more afraid of me than the chaos we are living through right now? Well that hurts. It hurts us all," she says. "It's a heaviness that sits on our hearts. So I want to appeal for some empathy here, too."

Summing up her message about Trump's response to the coronavirus, she says of a vote for Biden: "It's a chance for a fresh start. Or, four more years of this."

Watch her full video, below.