WASHINGTON — Former First Lady Michelle Obama writes in her upcoming memoir that she will never forgive Donald Trump for leading the “birther’ movement, a racist conspiracy campaign that challenged her husband’s citizenship.
“The whole [birther] thing was crazy and mean-spirited, of course, its underlying bigotry and xenophobia hardly concealed. But it was also dangerous, deliberately meant to stir up the wingnuts and kooks,” Obama wrote, according to an excerpt published Thursday by the Washington Post.
“What if someone with an unstable mind loaded a gun and drove to Washington? What if that person went looking for our girls?” Obama added. “Donald Trump, with his loud and reckless innuendos, was putting my family’s safety at risk. And for this I’d never forgive him.”
Trump, then a reality-show star, generated attention in 2011 by repeatedly questioning whether or not Obama was born in the U.S. Trump suggested that Obama was born in Kenya — where his late father was from — and was therefore ineligible to be president.
President Barack Obama officially released his long-form birth certificate that year, confirming that he was, in fact, born in Hawaii.
At the tail end of the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump finally acknowledged that Obama was born in the United States.
When asked about the excerpt as he left the White House on Friday, Trump said he had not yet heard about the former First Lady’s statements, but nevertheless weighed in.
“I guess she wrote a book. She got paid a lot of money to write a book. And they always insist that you come up with [controversy],” Trump said. “Well, I’ll give you a little controversy back.”
Trump then pivoted to the former president.
“I’ll never forgive him for what he did to our United States military by not funding it properly. It was depleted. Everything was old and tired and I came in and I had to fix it,” Trump said.
The president added that he would also never forgive Barack Obama for other things that he would lay out in the future.
The former first lady’s memoir, titled Becoming, is set to be released on Tuesday.