Michelle Obama Takes Aim at Trump: “We Checked the Facts”

Michelle Obama-Becoming -Getty-H 2018
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The former first lady said the facts “mattered to us,” during her book tour with Tracee Ellis Ross (and opened up about a panic attack and marriage counseling).

Michelle Obama took a swing at Donald Trump during her book tour stop in Los Angeles on Thursday without mentioning him by name.

"I felt like I didn't have room not to be right for eight years. I didn't have the luxury to just be OK, to be inarticulate. I couldn't make mistakes. I couldn't get facts wrong. So our whole team was very conscientious. We checked the facts before we put anything in a speech, because we knew we'd get crucified if we got something wrong,” Obama said in a conversation with actress Tracee Ellis Ross at the Forum, an event that felt more like a rally or concert than a book talk. "That mattered to us, Barack and I, as professional people."

"That's so neat, the way you cared about what you said and made sure it was right and worked on it,” Ellis Ross said slyly. “Because you cared, because we mattered to you ... because you were in a house, that you reminded us was actually our house. Wow. That's so neat, Mrs. Obama. Tell us about how that went. Maybe we can do that again,” Ellis Ross joked to cheers.

Obama rarely mentions Trump in her book Becoming, released Tuesday, but writes that she’ll “never forgive him” for putting her family in danger with his conspiracies about Barack Obama’s citizenship.

The former first lady also told the packed crowd that she has a tendency to downplay achievements in her life, but had a panic attack before embarking on the book tour. "The weekend before we started, I had a panic attack. Like this has all been a big deal and I didn't realize it. So I called my brother and I was like, 'This is a big deal. What we did for the last eight years was a big deal.'"

Obama then opened up about her relationship with Barack Obama, discussing her marriage counseling and the feminist reason her family always ate dinner at 6:30 p.m. However, she made no mention of her production deal with Netflix nor a possible 2020 presidential run.

She said her relationship with Barack Obama became strenuous when he would arrive late for dinner.

"I had to learn how to deal with my frustrations and that's when marriage counseling came in,” Obama said (“Thank you for revealing that with such honesty,” Ellis Ross added). "What they see in public is the easy part. It's the fist bump, it's the love, it's the hand-holding. And I see young people running away from their marriage when things get hard. And it's like, 'Oh, marriage is hard.’ It's hard for everyone. And I love my husband and he's a good man. And he's not crazy and he loves me. And it's still hard.

"Going to marriage counseling helped me. Really, it was a turning point for me personally as an individual let alone a turning point in our marriage. Because, you know, you go to marriage counseling I was thinking, 'Well, we're going together, but doctor such-and-such, you're really going to fix him.' So I'm going to sit here and explain to you his problems," Obama said. "He was like, 'Let's talk about you.' I was like, 'Me? Oh no, no, I am perfect.'

"What I learned was that I was looking to my partner to make me happy,” she said. "It's still my job in my marriage to figure out what my happiness is, and then to make that happen for myself — with or without him."

One of the solutions to her being annoyed while waiting for her husband to return home for dinner was simply, “we stopped waiting." Obama added, "My life would be put on hold and I didn't want my girls to grow up thinking that life only begins when Dad shows up ... So what we started doing, which we carried through the White House, was we set dinner at a certain time. In the White House, it was 6:30.

"I wanted my daughters to see me as a woman moving forward with her life and not waiting for a man,” Obama continued. "It was like, 'Dude, I know Syria, whatever is going on. But if you want to eat with us? And you don't have to ... This is when we're eating.'"

Ellis Ross, just one of the stars moderating Obama’s book tours following Oprah this week and preceding Reese Witherspoon (Dec. 13) and Sarah Jessica Parker (Dec. 19), reflected on first meeting Obama in person at the White House in 2011, for one of her mentoring events to celebrate Women's History Month. “We were just beginning a conversation about being proud, powerful black women in this country and that conversation continues to this day,” Ellis Ross said. (Other stars from Gwyneth Paltrow to Eva Longoria to Karlie Kloss appeared in a hype video before the talk).

Obama embraced her role as a female empowerer, declaring, "When I'm telling the truth, I'm not afraid … I am done worrying about what people think."