Michelle Obama shames ‘infantile’ Trump
Michelle Obama has called on US politicians to "forcefully rebuke" US President Donald Trump while labelling yesterday's attack on the Capitol "a fulfilment of the wishes of an infantile and unpatriotic President who can't handle the truth of his own failures".
She also described Mr Trump as a man "so obviously willing to burn our democracy down for his own ego".
The former first lady and wife of Barack Obama issued a blistering take-down of Mr Trump and his fanatical supporters who stormed the Capitol in violent and chaotic scenes that have left four people dead.
Mr Obama yesterday released his own statement calling the events violence "incited by a sitting President".
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In a statement posted to social media today Ms Obama wrote that she "woke up yesterday elated" to discover the state of Georgia had elected its first black senator.
"In just a few hours, though, my heart had fallen harder and faster than I can remember. Like all of you, I watched as a gang - organised, violent, and mad they'd lost an election - laid siege to the United States Capitol," she said.
"They set up gallows. They proudly waved the traitorous flag of the Confederacy through the halls. They desecrated the centre of American government.
"And once authorities finally gained control of the situation, these rioters and gang members were led out of the building not in handcuffs, but free to carry on with their days."
Ms Obama said the day's events were "a fulfilment of the wishes of an infantile and unpatriotic" Mr Trump who hadn't been able to come to terms with losing last November's election to president-elect Joe Biden.
"And the wreckage lays at the feet of a party and media apparatus that gleefully cheered him on, knowing full well the possibility of consequences like these," she said.
Ms Obama said the storming of the Capitol had left her with "so many questions" about her country's future, but most pressing to her was "what would have been different" if it had been Black Lives Matter protesters.
"I think we all know the answer. This summer's Black Lives Matter protests were an overwhelmingly peaceful movement - our nation's largest demonstrations ever, bringing together people of every race and class and encouraging millions to re-examine their own assumptions and behaviour," she said.
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"And yet, in city after city, day after day, we saw peaceful protesters met with brute force. We saw cracked skulls and mass arrests, law enforcement pepper spraying its way through a peaceful demonstration for a presidential photo op."
Ms Obama said: "Yesterday made it painfully clear that certain Americans are, in fact, allowed to denigrate the flag and symbols of our nation [when they] look the right way.
"Seeing the gulf between the responses to yesterday's riot and this summer's peaceful protests and the larger movement for racial justice is so painful. It hurts," she said.
"And I cannot think about moving on or turning the page until we reckon with the reality of what we saw yesterday.
"True progress will be possible only once we acknowledge that this disconnect exists and take steps to repair it.
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"And that also means coming to grips with the reality that millions voted for a man so obviously willing to burn our democracy down for his own ego."
Ms Obama said that she now hurts "for our country" and wished she had "all the solutions to make things better".
"I wish I had the confidence that people who know better will act like it for more than a news cycle or two," she said.
"All I know is that now is a time for true patriotism. Now is the time for those who voted for this President to see the reality of what they've supported - and publicly and forcefully rebuke him and the actions of that mob."
Ms Obama also called for social media sites like Twitter and Facebook - who suspended Mr Trump's accounts yesterday after he stoked rioters' actions with inflammatory statements - to permanently bar him from platforms.
"Now is the time for Silicon Valley companies to stop enabling this monstrous behaviour - and go even further than they have already by permanently banning this man from their platforms and putting in place policies to prevent their technology from being used by the nation's leaders to fuel insurrection," she said.
"And if we have any hope of improving this nation, now is the time for swift and serious consequences for the failure of leadership that led to yesterday's shame."
Originally published as Michelle Obama shames 'infantile' Trump