Trump hits back at Michelle Obama's DNC address: 'She was over her head'

The former first lady delivered a blistering rebuke of Trump in DNC address.

August 18, 2020, 10:32 AM

Reacting to former first lady Michelle Obama’s blistering condemnation of his presidency in her taped address aired Monday night as part of the virtual Democratic National Convention, President Donald Trump on Tuesday sarcastically thanked her in some early morning tweets.

“Thanks for your very kind words Michelle!” the president responded.

Making an at-times emotionally powerful 18-minute address, the former first lady warned the American people against the danger of reelecting Trump to a second term.

"If you take one thing from my words tonight, it is this: if you think things cannot possibly get worse, trust me, they can; and they will if we don't make a change in this election. If we have any hope of ending this chaos, we have got to vote for Joe Biden like our lives depend on it," Obama said in her taped address.

PHOTO: Former first lady Michelle Obama speaks during the first night of the Democratic National Convention, Aug. 17, 2020.
Former first lady Michelle Obama speaks during the first night of the Democratic National Convention, Aug. 17, 2020.
Democratic National Convention via AP

In defense, President Trump spoke of himself in the third person as he sought to remind the former first lady that his first election to the White House came in the wake of her own husband’s two terms in office, which the president argued represented a referendum on Obama.

PHOTO: President Donald Trump takes part in the signing of a proclamation on the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment during an event at the White House, Aug. 18, 2020.
President Donald Trump takes part in the signing of a proclamation on the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment during an event at the White House, Aug. 18, 2020.
Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

In his first on camera reaction to Obama's speech, Trump sought to turn the former first lady's critique of him -- that he is in "over his head" -- back on her.

"She was over her head," the president said, blasting the nation's first black first lady in response to a reporter's question at an event commemorating the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment ensuring women the right to vote.

Clearly irritated by the strongly favorable reaction, the president said the address wasn't deserving and called her address “extremely divisive.”

“She gets these fawning reviews, if you gave her a real review it wouldn’t be so fawning, I thought it was a very divisive speech, extremely divisive," he said.

In criticizing the speech for being pre-taped, the president oddly pointed out that that meant Mrs. Obama didn't have the most up-to-date numbers on the death toll from COVID-19. She referred to "more than 150,000" deaths. The death toll has now surpassed 170,000.

"It was not only taped it was taped a long time ago because she had the wrong deaths, she didn’t even mention the vice presidential candidate in the speech," he said.

The Biden/Harris campaign confirmed that Obama's address was recorded before Kamala Harris was announced as Joe Biden's running mate last week. She did sharply mention Trump responding "It is what it is" when asked in an Axios interview about the high U.S. death toll.

Despite being pre-taped without the usual live audience reaction that comes with a traditional convention address, Michelle Obama's speech amounted to a stinging rebuke of the Trump presidency and the offered a poignant show closer to Day One of the virtual convention.

PHOTO: PPresident Donald Trump speaks to a crowd of supporters at Mankato Regional Airport, Aug. 17, 2020, in Mankato, Minn.
President Donald Trump speaks to a crowd of supporters at Mankato Regional Airport, Aug. 17, 2020, in Mankato, Minn.
Evan Vucci/AP

In a prebuttal to her address, President Trump on Monday both criticized that it would be pre-taped, saying there’s “nothing very exciting” about a pre-produced event, while also suggesting it offers an unfair advantage. Next week’s Republican convention will also be largely virtual.

"I noticed that there are conventions -- these are all taped speeches, Michelle Obama, her speech is taped. Why don't they tell me that? I'll tape my speech next week. I'll tape it, it's a lot easier. I'll make sure it's perfecto. Every word would be perfect,” Trump said. “We'll have to speak to Republican leadership and say let's tape those speeches. You want to go to a snooze, you know when you hear when you hear speeches taped, it's like there's nothing very exciting about it."

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