'This isn’t a game': Michelle Obama urges US leaders to 'honour electoral process'

Former first lady reveals how she helped run a smooth transfer of power despite anger at Trump for 'spreading racist lies' about her hubby

17 November 2020 - 10:13 By Khanyisile Ngcobo
Michelle Obama has urged her fellow citizens to "honour the electoral process" and allow for the peaceful transition of power.
Michelle Obama has urged her fellow citizens to "honour the electoral process" and allow for the peaceful transition of power.
Image: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Former US first lady Michelle Obama has urged US citizens and the nation's leaders to “honour the electoral process” and do their part “to encourage a smooth transition of power”. 

She made these remarks in a lengthy Instagram post shared on Monday with her
44 million followers.

The post comes as President Donald Trump remains defiant and refuses to concede his election loss to president-elect Joe Biden.

Posting an image of her and former president Barack Obama walking on a red carpet while US military personnel stand guard, Obama detailed her experience after Hillary Clinton's narrow loss and the process of welcoming the incoming first family despite her anger with Trump for “spreading racist lies” about her husband and putting her family in danger.

“This week, I’ve been reflecting a lot on where I was four years ago. 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. And one of the great responsibilities of the presidency is to listen when they do. 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.

“We invited the folks from the president-elect’s team into our offices and prepared detailed memos for them, offering what we’d learnt over the past eight years.

“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. But I knew that, for the sake of our country, I had to find the strength and maturity to put my anger aside,” the former first lady revealed.

Obama went on to explain how she welcomed the incoming first lady, Melania Trump, to 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”.

“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.

“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.”

Obama ended the post with a call to her fellow citizens and nation's leaders to “do your part to encourage a smooth transition of power, just as sitting presidents have done throughout our history”.