Michelle Obama delivered her “closing argument” on behalf of Joe Biden on Tuesday, and in the process she shared some sympathy for the people who are perhaps most at risk for being exposed to COVID-19 by Donald Trump. “My heart goes out to everyone touched by this virus, from those at the White House, especially the Secret Service and residence staff whose service ought never be taken for granted, to all those names and stories most of us will unfortunately never know,” she wrote on Twitter. The message seemed to be a direct response to the highly-contagious president making his security detail drive him around Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Sunday in a hermetically-sealed car, before returning to the White House, where dozens of people work.
A Washington Post article on Monday highlighted the risk Trump poses to the 90-odd permanent White House staff members, who are largely Black and Latino. Deesha Dyer, who was Michelle Obama’s social secretary, told the Post, “They love their jobs, and they’re excellent at their jobs, and they’re part of the institution. And it’s just trifling and unnecessary to put them at risk because you can’t be bothered to wear a mask.”
In the 26-minute video on Twitter, Obama called Biden a man “who can meet this moment, a leader who has the character and the experience to put an end to this chaos.” She also used the video to praise everyday Americans who have “stepped up to the call” in the absence of real leadership from the current government. She said, “Even in the face of all this incompetence, Americans keep digging deeper, finding new reserves of strength, doing whatever it takes to get through this. That’s one of the beautiful things that has given me hope over the past four years. Our country’s resilience, from the essential workers keeping us safe to the doctors and nurses caring for our loved ones, to the teachers and childcare workers doing everything they can for our kids…It’s not too much to ask our leaders to rise to the occasion as well.”
Michelle went on to speak in personal terms about “this president’s failure to take this pandemic seriously, from his constant downplaying of masks and social distancing to his relentless pressure on schools to open without offering a clear plan or meaningful support to keep students and teachers safe,” and the negative impact it’s had on families like hers. “We simply cannot trust this president to tell us the truth about anything.”
“Today, more Americans have died from this virus than died in the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, and Korea combined. Take all those lives bravely sacrificed and double it. that is roughly the scale of this tragedy and our commander-in-chief, sadly, has been missing in action.” She went on to highlight Trump’s mismanagement of California’s wildfires, the Black Lives Matter movement, and his derogatory treatment of those in the armed forces and their families, later adding, “The one thing this president is really, really good at is using fear and confusion and spreading lies to win.”