Michelle Obama is speaking out in favor of a peaceful transition of power. The former first lady took to Instagram on Monday to recall how she and her husband, former President Barack Obama, welcomed President Donald Trump and his wife, Melania Trump, into the White House following the 2016 election. Her post comes after President-elect Joe Biden‘s win in the election, which Trump has yet to concede.
“This week, I’ve been reflecting a lot on where I was four years ago. Hilary Clinton had just been dealt a tough loss by a far closer margin than the one we’ve seen this year,” she began, alongside a photo of her and her husband leaving after Trump’s 2017 inauguration. “I was hurt and disappointed — but the votes had been counted and Donald Trump had won. The American people had spoken. And one of the great responsibilities of the presidency is to listen when they do.”
Leading up to Trump’s inauguration, the Obamas “instructed our staffs to do what George and Laura Bush had done for us: run a respectful, seamless transition of power,” something the former first lady called “one of the hallmarks of American democracy.”
“We invited the folks from the president-elect’s team into our offices and prepared detailed memos for them, offering what we’d learned over the past eight years,” she wrote, adding that “none of this was easy for me.”
“Donald Trump had spread racist lies about my husband that had put my family in danger,” she wrote. “That wasn’t something I was ready to forgive. But I knew that, for the sake of our country, I had to find the strength and maturity to put my anger aside.”
With that in mind, the former first lady “welcomed Melania Trump into the White House and talked with her about my experience, answering every question she had — from the heightened scrutiny that comes with being First Lady to what it’s like to raise kids in the White House.”
“I knew in my heart it was the right thing to do,” she explained, “because our democracy is so much bigger than anybody’s ego.”
Despite Biden earning 306 electoral votes (270 are required to win the presidency) and maintaining a popular vote lead of more than five million, Trump has yet to concede the race. Instead, the outgoing president is proceeding with legal challenges in hopes of overturning the results. In her post, Obama discouraged that course of action.
“Our love of country requires us to respect the results of an election even when we don’t like them or wish it had gone differently — the presidency doesn’t belong to any one individual or any one party,” she wrote. “To pretend that it does, to play along with these groundless conspiracy theories — whether for personal or political gain — is to put our country’s health and security in danger. This isn’t a game.”
Obama ended her post by urging “all Americans, especially our nation’s leaders, regardless of party, to honor the electoral process and do your part to encourage a smooth transition of power, just as sitting presidents have done throughout our history.”
Obama’s Instagram post came one day after her husband spoke to 60 Minutes about how he believes Trump should handle the situation.
“A president is a public servant. They are temporary occupants of the office, by design,” the former president said. “And when your time is up then it is your job to put the country first and think beyond your own ego, and your own interests, and your own disappointments.”
“My advice to President Trump is, if you want at this late stage in the game to be remembered as somebody who put country first, it’s time for you to do the same thing,” he continued.
The politician added his belief that it’s past time for Trump to concede, noting, “When you look at the numbers objectively, Joe Biden will have won handily.”
“There is no scenario in which any of those states would turn the other way,” he said. “And certainly not enough to reverse the outcome of the election.”
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