President Donald Trump has responded to comments made by former first lady Michelle Obama in her forthcoming memoir, Becoming, where she says she’ll never forgive Trump for putting her family at risk for his “birther” accusations against President Barack Obama.
“She got paid a lot of money to write a book and they always insist that you come up with controversial,” Trump told reporters Friday morning.
“I’ll give you a little controversy back, I’ll never forgive [Barack Obama] for what he did to our United States military. By not funding it properly, it was depleted,” he said. “What he did to our military made this country very unsafe for you and you and you.” (Trump has made this claim before; the truth is more complicated.)
Trump’s remarks on Friday sidestep the larger issue Michelle Obama is talking about. In Becoming, she writes:
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. What if someone with an unstable mind loaded a gun and drove to Washington? What if that person went looking for our girls? Donald Trump, with his loud and reckless innuendos, was putting my family’s safety at risk. And for this I’d never forgive him.
Obama is referring to the inaccurate and racist conspiracy theory, amplified by Trump and many others, that her husband was not born in the United States.
The former first lady also wrote in her memoir that her “body buzzed with fury” after she heard the now-infamous “Access Hollywood” tape where Trump bragged about grabbing women.
“It was an expression of hatred that had generally been kept out of polite company, but still lived in the marrow of our supposedly enlightened society — alive and accepted enough that someone like Donald Trump could afford to be cavalier about it,” she wrote.
Becoming is out Nov. 13.