In a lengthy Instagram post on Monday, former first lady Michelle Obama urged the “nation’s leaders” – irrespective of their political affiliation – to acknowledge the outcome of the presidential election and “encourage a smooth transition of power.”
The former first lady started her post by reflecting on how she and her husband had to put differences aside and open the doors of the White House to then president-elect, Donald Trump, and his wife Melania after Hillary Clinton lost the election to him in 2016.
“This week, I’ve been reflecting a lot on where I was four years ago,” she wrote. “Hillary Clinton had just been dealt a tough loss by a far closer margin than the one we’ve seen this year. I was hurt and disappointed—but the votes had been counted and Donald Trump had won. The American people had spoken.”
Though disappointed by the results, Obama said it was their responsibility to ensure a seamless transition of power just like her husband’s predecessor had done.
“And one of the great responsibilities of the presidency is to listen when they do,” she continued. “So my husband and I instructed our staffs to do what George and Laura Bush had done for us: run a respectful, seamless transition of power—one of the hallmarks of American democracy.”
She added: “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.”
Obama admitted that though she had issues with Trump with regards to unsubstantiated claims he made about her husband, she still did not let her anger get in the way of being the bigger person.
“I have to be honest and say that none of this was easy for me. Donald Trump had spread racist lies about my husband that had put my family in danger. That wasn’t something I was ready to forgive,” she wrote. “But I knew that, for the sake of our country, I had to find the strength and maturity to put my anger aside. So I 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.”
She then threw a subtle shade at those who are trying to hamper the electoral and transition process, arguing that it is dangerous.
“I knew in my heart it was the right thing to do—because our democracy is so much bigger than anybody’s ego. 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. So I want to urge 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 comments come weeks after several major news outlets projected Joe Biden as the president-elect following the November 3 election. The all-but-confirmed outgoing president, Trump, has, however, refused to concede and has been making unsubstantiated and baseless claims of electoral fraud, even going as far as launching legal action in some states.
And while some members of the Republican Party have publicly acknowledged Biden as the victor and urged Trump to concede so a smooth presidential transition can proceed instead of it being currently dragged, Trump – with the full backing of some party members and supporters – has remained adamant.