“It shook me profoundly to hear the man who replaced my husband as president openly and unapologetically using ethnic slurs, making selfishness and hate somehow acceptable, refusing to condemn white supremacists or to support people demonstrating for racial justice,” Obama writes in “The Light We Carry,” per CNN. “It shocked me to hear him speaking about differentness as if it were a threat.”
Obama said she was taken aback when voters chose to elect Trump immediately following Barack Obama's presidency, which she wrote was anchored by their principles of "hope and hard work."
"For eight years, we tried to live those principles out loud, recognizing that we made it as far as we had despite and maybe even in defiance of the bigotry and bias so deeply embedded in American life,” said Obama in her book. “We understood that our presence as Black people in the White House said something about what was possible. So we doubled down on our hope and hard work, trying to inhabit that possibility.”
“Whether or not the 2016 election was a direct rebuke of all that, it did hurt. It still hurts,” she said. “It felt like something more, something much uglier than a simple political defeat.”
“Stuck in my house, over the frightening months of early 2020, I saw no logic to any of it,” Obama continues in her book. “What I saw was a president whose lack of integrity was reflected in an escalating national death count, and whose poll numbers were still decent.”
"The Light We Carry," which went on sale Tuesday (November 15), details how the former first lady coped with despair and anxiety over the past couple of years and rebuilt hope for the future. Its release follows her 2018 memoir, "Becoming," which sold more than 17 million copies worldwide.