Michelle Obama doesn’t hold back in her new memoir, “Becoming,” about her family’s experience in the wake of allegations that former President Barack Obama was secretly a Muslim and not an American citizen.
“What if someone with an unstable mind loaded a gun and drove to Washington?" she writes in the book, set for a Nov. 13 release. "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.”
The former first lady goes on to describe the president’s so-called birther comments as "crazy and mean-spirited ... its underlying bigotry and xenophobia hardly concealed. But it was also dangerous, deliberately meant to stir up the wingnuts and kooks.”
Outside the White House Friday, President Trump was asked by reporters about the scathing comments in Obama’s new book, and he was quick to fire back.
“Oh, Michelle Obama said that, I haven’t seen it," the president said. "I guess she wrote a book. She got paid a lot of money to write a book, and they always insist that you come up with controversial — Well, I’ll give you a little controversy back. I’ll never forgive [Barack Obama] for what he did to our United States military.”
Military spending has been a key focus for Trump before and after his election, with 2018′s soaring defense budget of $700 billion expected to rise even more to $716 billion next year, far more than China and Russia spend on defense.
The two-year defense-spending spike is necessary to return the U.S. military to a superior, combat-ready fighting force, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said earlier this year. Under Trump, the military is also receiving its biggest pay raise in nearly 10 years.
“I cannot overstate the negative impact to our troops’ and families’ morale from all this budget uncertainty,” he said in February. “Obviously, a lot of work goes into the execution, then the quality of the training. But you can count on us. We’ll earn your trust on this. We will spend the money wisely.”
Not spending enough on defense under Obama, Trump continued Friday, put the safety of the country at risk.
“By not funding [the military] properly, it was depleted," he said. “Everything was old and tired and I came in and I had to fix it, and I’m in the process of spending tremendous amounts of money. So, I’ll never forgive him for what he did to our military. I’ll never forgive him for what he did in many other ways, which I’ll talk to you about in the future.”
“What he did — 'cause [Michelle Obama] talked about safety — what he did to our military made this country very unsafe for you and you and you,” the president concluded, pointing at various reporters in the gaggle.
Watch the exchange below.
J.D. Simkins is a writer and editor for Military Times, and a USMC veteran.