During a rally on Friday, Donald Trump unloaded on Michelle and Barack Obama, calling them “babies” and “losers” and accusing them of spending too much time campaigning.
“We have a president, all he wants to do is campaign. His wife, all she wants to do is campaign,” Trump said. “And I see how much his wife likes Hillary. But wasn’t she [Michelle Obama] the one that originally started the statement, ‘If you can’t take care of your home, you can’t take care of the White House or country?’”
Trump goes after Michelle Obama, says "all she wants to do is campaign" pic.twitter.com/ARPN2925lv
— Colin Jones (@colinjones) October 21, 2016
Trump was referring to comments Michelle made in August 2007 during the primary race between her husband and Hillary Clinton. At an event in Chicago, Michelle said, “One of the things, the important aspects of this race, is role modeling what good families should look like. And my view is that if you can’t run your own house, you certainly can’t run the White House. Can’t do it.”
Some interpreted Michelle’s remarks as taking a shot at Hillary’s marriage. But other speeches Michelle gave around the same time suggested she was actually just talking about how she and Barack raised their daughters. Barack denied that Michelle’s comment was directed at the Clintons, and Michelle’s spokesperson said, “The only family Mrs. Obama was talking about was the Obama family.”
Trump used Michelle’s 2007 comments to attack Clinton during the second presidential debate, saying, “I’ve gotten to see the commercials that they did on you. And I’ve gotten to see some of the most vicious commercials I’ve ever seen of Michelle Obama talking about you, Hillary.”
But as Politifact’s Louis Jacobson wrote, “Trump is wrong to imply that Michelle Obama’s criticism came in an ad her husband ran against Hillary Clinton. Instead, it came from an ad made by a pro-Trump super PAC. And the comments from Michelle Obama are somewhat oblique.” Jacobson concluded that Trump’s comment was false.
Michelle Obama has emerged as one of Hillary Clinton’s most effective surrogates. Last week, she delivered a powerful indictment of Trump’s misogyny, and earlier this month, she ridiculed Trump for whining about his “defective” mic during the first presidential debate.
Trump has generally steered clear of attacking Michelle. He actually praised her Democratic National Convention speech, calling it “excellent” and saying he thought “she did a very good job,” even though she spent much of it criticizing him.
Trump’s reluctance to go after Michelle might stem from her popularity. In August, a Gallup poll pegged her favorability at 64 percent, which is about 10 points higher than her husband’s. But by unloading on her on Friday, Trump indicated no attack will be off limits during the final weeks of the campaign.