Former first lady Michelle Obama’s much-talked about interview with ABC’s Robin Roberts aired tonight and she admits that her husband was first listed as a 2008 presidential hopeful, she—like so many others—had the same initial response.
“I think I did what a lot of Black folks were doing’,” she told Roberts. “We were afraid to hope because it’s hard to believe that the country that oppressed you could one day be led by you, you know?”
An interview eight years in the making, @MichelleObama in an exclusive event special with @RobinRoberts. ‘A First Lady’s Journey: Becoming Michelle Obama’ airs tonight at 9|8c only on @ABC. https://t.co/FsQHCqHskU pic.twitter.com/1z84Kvf4mV
— 20/20 (@ABC2020) November 11, 2018
“I mean, my grandparents, you know, lived through segregation,” she continued. “My grandfather, his grandfather was a slave, you know? So this, these memories were real. And they didn’t think the country was ready. And, and so my attitude was a reflection of that skepticism.”
In the wide-ranging interview that is promoting the former FLOTUS’ new memoir, Becoming, she also talked about how she dealt with the numerous lies and insults hurled at her on the campaign trail and throughout her husband’s presidency.
“I write about those, you know, those nasty times where people, you know, called me Barack’s ‘baby mama,’ you know” she says. “Accused me of not loving my country. Told me I was angry.
“And, I was, like, ‘This isn’t me. Wait, wait, people. This isn’t who I am,’” she added. “So much of this country lives in isolation and we just don’t know each other. … There were people who didn’t know what a black woman was and sounded like. And, so I knew that was gonna be a challenge, that I’d have to earn my grace–and I experienced that on the campaign trail,” she said.
In the interview, Obama also talks about conceiving her two daughters, Sasha and Malia, through IVF and acknowledged that she would never forgive Donald and Melania Trump for peddling the racist “birther” campaign against her husband.
“Its underlying bigotry and xenophobia hardly concealed,” she said. “But it was also dangerous, deliberately meant to stir up the wingnuts and kooks.”
In audio from the book obtained exclusively by ABC News, Michelle Obama wonders: “What if someone with an unstable mind loaded a gun and drove to Washington? What if that person went looking for our girls? Donald Trump, with his loud and reckless innuendos, was putting my family’s safety at risk. And for this, I’d never forgive him.”