Valerie Jarrett: 'We can't be paralyzed' by Trump's 'troubling' rhetoric

President Obama's longest-serving senior adviser remembers iconic moments like his inauguration and meeting Trump, and shares her thoughts on the 2020 field for Democratic hopefuls.
4:37 | 04/06/19

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Transcript for Valerie Jarrett: 'We can't be paralyzed' by Trump's 'troubling' rhetoric
I think the political landscape today in some ways is depressing. I was stunned after the last election. I didn't see it coming One of the most influential women in the Obama white house speaks out now U. We look to the president of the United States to be a role model for young people. I think some of the rhetoric has been profoundly disappointing and troubling to me. She helped Obama through some of the biggest moments from the 2008 recession to two women justices to sweeping health care reform. When you see this administration chipping away at some of your platform, what is the one or more than one that really disturbs you the most? Well, so many of them. Whether it's blowing up the Iran deal or climate change deal, fighting for civil rights. All of it is deeply and profoundly troubling to me. So a big piece of what I want to do now is encourage people to feel empowered to use their voices. Reporter: Now Jarrett is sharing her own story in her memoir "Finding my voice". Her road to politics started in Chicago in the late '80s, working for Harold Washington, the city's first black mayor. I learned to be an advocate for the people of Chicago. Reporter: She made her best hire ever. Michelle Obama? Michelle Robinson. 28 years ago, she walked into my office. Tall and elegant. Reporter: What was it about her? First I was struck by her calm confidence, and I knew from that very first interview, I wanted her to come and be a part of my life. But hundred to convince her then fiance. I called her and said what do you think? She says we have a problem. My fiance doesn't think it's a good idea. I said who's your fiance? She said his name is Barack Obama. You could see love and respect and willingness to figure out how to make life decisions Reporter: Soon after, a life-long friendship began. She fondly recalls the night Obama made history becoming the first African-American president. There were simply not words to describe the depth of my emotion and how proud of him I was that night. And in the end we gave each other a hug and said absolutely nothing. Reporter: She writes about the one time she met Donald Trump at the white house correspondents dinner in 2011. He was then well-known for fueling the conspiracy theory that president Obama was not born in the U.S. He was very much a part of the birther controversy. The driving force behind the birther controversy. I could just tell, just in how you responded with that, that that is something that has stayed with you. Well, I think it's unconscionable. And I think it incited hatred. I did try to duck him when I saw him at the correspondents dinner, but he was coming right at me. And it was just a brief exchange, but what I member about that night, you know, everybody is joked about at the correspondents dinner. And president Obama did it in good humor. Tonight for the first time, I am releasing my official birth video. I just wish that president trump had laughed. The camera was on him. And he couldn't laugh. And one of president Obama's strengths, I think, is his ability to make a good joke about himself. Reporter: Jarrett's priority now is helping to send a Democrat back to the white house in 2020. I think we have an embarrassment of riches and I have offered my advice to anyone who has asked. Do you think a future presidential candidate in after 2020, Michelle Obama? No. She has been very clear, she will spend the rest of her life in public service. She does not have a burning desire for politics. She's only interested in the service part of that equation. Reporter: For "Nightline,"

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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