Former First Lady Michelle Obama has taken a rare, post-White-House dive into politics, telling women who voted against Hillary Clinton that they “voted against their own voice”.
“What does it mean for us, as women, that we look at those two candidates… and many of us said, ‘That guy? He’s better for me. His voice is more true to me’,” she asked, referring to President Donald Trump.
She added: “To me that just says, you don’t like your voice. You like the thing you’re told to like.”
The comments echoed those of former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who said during the election that there is “a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other”.
The comments were poorly received at the time.
Ms Obama’s comments caused much less of a stir. The former first lady spoke out at the Inbound conference in Boston – a marketing and sales event that boasted more than 20,000 attendees. The conference featured speakers such as Billie Jean King, the tennis legend, and Elaine Welteroth, the editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue.
Ms Obama took the stage alongside feminist writer Roxane Gay, and directed many of her comments to the women in the audience.
“First spouse,” she said at one point, mulling a gender-neutral version of her former title. “I’ll keep saying that, because someday it will happen.”
Despite her harsh criticism of female Trump voters, Ms Obama said she would try to keep her comments constructive. She added that she and her husband want Mr Trump to be successful, saying: “He is our commander in chief, he was voted in.”
But that doesn’t mean the pair will be looking to Mr Trump as an example.
“Barack is not going to turn into what this President was, which is somebody tweeting in the wind and stirring up mess without really knowing what they’re talking about,” she told the audience.
The former first lady also confirmed she is working on a book about “believing in our most authentic selves”. Ms Obama and her husband reportedly netted $60m for the rights to their post-White House memoirs.
The writing process, Ms Obama said, has given her time to stop and reflect on her years on Pennsylvania Avenue.
“When you’re in it, you don’t have a moment, a second, to think,” she said. “This is the first time in eight years, probably 10 years, that I’ll have a chance to think back on what it all meant.”