Donald Trump made First Lady Michelle Obama a public target of his anger for the first time today in the final weeks of the presidential race, attacking her for comments she once made about Hillary Clinton.
“His wife, all she wants to do is campaign. And I see how much his wife likes Hillary,” Trump told a rally in North Carolina as he shifted his attack from President Barack Obama to the first lady.
“But wasn’t she the one that originally started the statement: If you can’t take care of your home … You can’t take care of the White House or the country,” Trump said, paraphrasing a memorably harsh remark that Michelle Obama made of Clinton when she ran for the 2008 Democratic nomination against fellow senator Barack Obama.
Michelle Obama earned praise from Clinton last week for delivering a whithering critique of Trump and his “intolerable” attitude toward women.
Trump hit back today.
“She’s the one that started that,” he said of Obama’s comments. “I said ‘We can’t say that, it’s too vicious,'” Trump went on.
“Now she said that, but we don’t hear about that.”
Obama had caused a stir during the 2008 primaries when she addressed a women-for-Obama event in Chicago and criticized Clinton, whose husband, former president Bill Clinton, was accused of sexually harassing and abusing women.
“One of the things, the important aspects of this race, is role-modelling what good families should look like,” Michelle Obama said at the time.
“And my view is that, if you can’t run your own house, you certainly can’t run the White House. Can’t do it.”
Last week the White House warned against Trump potentially firing back at the first lady after her anti-Trump speech.
“I can’t think of a bolder way for Donald Trump to lose even more standing than he already has than by engaging the first lady of the United States,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz told reporters.