Michelle Obama has dismissed the US president as being akin to a “divorced dad” while noting the indictments levied against him.
The former first lady juxtaposed the Donald Trump administration to Barack Obama’s presidency during a wide-ranging interview on Sunday to promote her autobiography Becoming in London, venting her frustrations at the president’s decision to radically overhaul her husband’s legacy.
Ms Obama took aim at the billionaire property developer in a series of jibes during which she did not mention him by name. “For anyone who had any problems with Barack Obama, let’s just think about what we were troubled by – there were never any indictments,” she told a crowd of around 15,000 at the O2.
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The Chicago native, who was interviewed by US late-night host Stephen Colbert, jokingly compared the US with Mr Trump in the White House to being a teenager.
“We come from a broken family, we are a little unsettled,” Ms Obama said. “Sometimes you spend the weekend with divorced dad. That feels like fun but then you get sick. That is what America is going through. We are living with divorced dad.”
Ms Obama, who has been married to the former president for 27 years, said her family’s life had been profoundly different before entering the White House – describing them as a “normal family” who had no time to “adjust to the rarified air of politics” when they arrived in Washington.
“We were always ourselves – the presidency does not change who you are, it reveals who you are,” she added in what appeared to be another dig at the current president.
“It is like swimming in the ocean with great waves. If you are not a great swimmer, you are not going to learn in the middle of a tidal wave. You are going to resort to your kicking and drowning and what you knew how to do in the pool.”
Ms Obama, who left the White House over two years ago, later explained she did not hesitate to discuss Mr Trump in her book which has sold more than 10 million copies and is on track to become the most popular memoir in history.
The former first lady, who enjoyed consistently high popularity ratings, said she struggled to watch the news at the moment.
“When I am not emotionally able to deal with it I turn it off for a moment,” she said. “I only let some of that stuff into my world when I’m ready. You can’t have a steady diet of fear and frustration coming in.”
The lawyer told the crowd that while the world was currently in a “dark” place there was still hope for the future.
She said: “This may feel like a dark chapter but any story has its highs and lows but it continues. Yes, we are in a low but we have been lower. We have had tougher times, we have had more to fear. We have lived through slavery, the Holocaust and segregation.
“We have always come out at the other end – better and stronger. We are moving in a direction of diversity and inclusion. No-one ever said it would be easy. We are just in the throes of the uneasy path of change.”
Ms Obama, who said she was most anxious about Mr Trump’s policies on healthcare, cast her mind back to the struggles the former first family experienced during their time in the White House.
“I don’t know if there has been a president who has been accused of not being born in this country? Who has been asked to show his transcripts? Who has been accused of being unpatriotic? There was a lot of stuff that had not happened before that happened to us.”
She added: “There was a time when people accused me of not loving my country. They accused me of being loud and rude and obnoxious.”
Ms Obama, who said there was “trepidation” and “anxiety” both in America and all over the world, said she wanted to “remind people” that her husband was elected twice.
She added: “That really did happen. People would have voted for him for a third time. What is going on today is true but what happened before was also true. That should give us some solace at some level. For eight years, the president they saw in their country was Barack Obama. He was somebody who people thought was smart and would do the right thing.”