Michelle Obama goes high while attacking Donald Trump's "locker room talk": "This isn't about politics. It is about basic human decency"

The first lady gave an impassioned speech for women everywhere in the wake of Trump's allegations

By Sophia Tesfaye

Senior Politics Editor

Published October 13, 2016 5:58PM (EDT)

 (AP/Jim Cole)
(AP/Jim Cole)

In a clearly impassioned and personal speech on behalf of Hillary Clinton, first lady Michelle Obama delivered an urgent message to all Americans the morning after multiple women went public alleging sexual assault by Donald Trump: The Republican nominee is unacceptable as president of the United States. 

At a New Hampshire rally on Thursday, Michelle Obama expressed deep concern about Trump's repeated boasting of forcing himself upon women, arguing that voters must oppose the example he sets as a matter of "basic human decency."

“The fact is in this election we have a candidate for president of the United States who over the course of his lifetime and the course of this campaign has said things about women that are so shocking, so demeaning, I simply will not repeat anything here today,” Obama said at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester.

“Last week we saw this candidate actually bragging about sexually assaulting women," she added. "I can't believe I'm saying that a candidate for president of the United States has bragged about sexually assaulting women."

The first lady continued, "I have to tell you that I, I can't stop thinking about this. It has shaken me to my core in a way that I couldn't have predicted.”

Revealing that she felt compelled to speak out after Trump's 2005 hot mic moment was published by The Washington Post, Obama said, "This isn't about politics. It's about basic human decency. It's about right and wrong."

She said, "It would be dishonest and disingenuous for me to move on to the next thing like this was just a bad dream."

And "this is not something we can ignore. It's not something we can sweep under the rug as just another disturbing footnote in a sad election season," she continued.

“Describing this as ‘locker room talk’ is an insult to men everywhere,” Obama asserted. "This was a powerful individual speaking freely and openly about sexually predatory behavior." 

Obama said American women "are drowning" in “this kind of violence and abuse and disrespect" —  something that many describe as rape culture. 

"And all of us," she said, "are doing what women have always done, we are trying to keep our heads above water, just trying to get through this, trying to pretend that this doesn’t really bother us." 

“The shameful comments about our bodies," she noted. "The disrespect of our ambitions and intellect. The belief that you can do anything you want to a woman? It’s cruel. It’s frightening. And the truth is, it hurts.”

Yet Obama continued, "We need to recover from our shock and our depression." Referring to the sordid campaign developments, she said women "need to do what women have always done in this country: we need to roll up our sleeves and get to work."

“Now is time for us to stand up and say enough is enough. What do you think this is doing to our children?” She said:

We are sending a clear message to our kids that everything they are seeing and hearing is perfectly OK. We are validating it. We are endorsing it. We are telling our sons that it is OK to humiliate women. We are telling our daughters that this how they deserve to be treated. We are telling all of our kids that bigotry and bullying are perfectly acceptable  in the leader of their country.

Obama asked the audience to think about the message transmitted to young people if the first female major-party nominee is defeated by a man like Trump. "If we turn away from her, if we just stand by and allow her opponent to be elected, then what are we teaching our children about the values they should hold — about the kind of the life they should lead?” she asked. 

Watch Michelle Obama's powerful speech below, via News Update Today:

By Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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Donald Trump Elections 2016 Michelle Obama Rape Culture Video Women Voters