INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) — Michelle Obama said she felt anxious before giving her emotional New Hampshire speech in 2016 condemning President Donald Trump for bragging about sexually assaulting a woman in a recording more than a decade ago.
The former First Lady recalled that she needed to address Trump’s comments on the infamous 2005 “Hollywood Access” tape while sitting on stage with “black-ish” actor Tracee Ellis Ross at The Forum near Los Angeles on Thursday night. She made her second stop to promote her best-selling book “Becoming,” which released this week.
“When I’m telling the truth, I’m not afraid,” Obama said. “I was anxious about giving it. I know how I feel, and what I wanted to do at that time was take women to that place where we know how we feel when we are demeaned. We have all experienced that at some point in time. Women don’t have the platform to say it out loud.”
Obama never mentioned Trump’s name, but said she “hated bullies.” She told a sold-out crowd that she wrote the outline of the speech while sitting in a waiting room as her mother was having back surgery.
Obama ended up giving the speech during a campaign trail in support of Hillary Clinton.
“I don’t know if men really understand what we bare as women,” she said. “The sad thing is that women aren’t safe in this world. We are at-risk to be cut all the time. I wanted to bring voice to women who know what that feels like. You’re just putting up with some man’s voice saying some stuff that is inappropriate and out of line, and they think it’s a joke. It has a lasting impact. … You have the power to vote against it.”
Obama said she was ready to give the speech, adding “I really didn’t care. It was also second term. I was like ‘I’m done with caring what people think.’ It’s time to put some truth out there.”
Obama entered the stage to Alicia Key’s “Girl on Fire” in her second stop of her 12-stop arena book tour. She kicked her tour off in a talk with Oprah Winfrey in Chicago.
Ten percent of ticket costs are being donated to local charities, schools and community groups.
Much of the 90-minute conversation between Obama and Ross was filled with laughter. They talked about Obama having a panic attack, getting marriage counseling and joked about her husband-former President Barack Obama’s walk being “sexy” but annoyingly slow sometimes.
In the book, Obama said she mentions a time when she had a fist fight with a girl while growing up on Chicago’s South Side.
“You did? A physical fight?” Ross asked.
“Yeah, I talk about it in the book. What other kind of fight — you see, this is Tracee. ‘A physical fight. With your hands,” Obama replied.
Obama added: “Those are the only fights you had on the south side. What? You thought people were debating? No, girl. We were throwing down — like, kickin’.”
The former First Lady’s husband, daughters, mother and brother gave their impressions of her maturation a video montage. Her mom talked about how her daughter initially disliked politics and Barack said he showed up to their first date late.
Earlier Thursday, Obama made a surprise visit to an early education center located in Skid Row in the downtown Los Angeles. She spent time reading with a group of four-year-old children from an underserved area of the city.