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Michelle Obama Talks 2020 Presidential Election

"I think, at this point, everybody's qualified and everyone should run," Obama said, in jest. "I might even tap Sasha!"

We've never had a POTUS and FLOTUS like the Obama's before, and we've never had a Trump before. Two very different presidencies, one wrought with bigotry, racism and rampant white supremacy, and scandal, the other full of hope, unity and service. Former FLOTUS Michelle Obama says we need to pay attention to who is qualified in the next presidential election.

"I implored people to focus and think about what it takes to be commander-in-chief," Obama told Robin Roberts in a "20/20" interview, in reference to women electing a misogynist in 2016 instead of a qualified female candidate.

She expressed the importance of voting, but went beyond that to describe the kind of person qualified to run this country.

"The commander in chief needs to have discipline, and read, and be knowledgeable. You need to know history, you need to be careful with your words," she said.

"I'm going to be looking to see who handles themselves and each other with dignity and respect so that by the time people get to the general (election), people aren't beat up and battered," the former first lady, who said she will not run for president, stressed.

"I think this (Democratic nomination) is open to any and everybody who has the courage to step up and serve."

She even joked that at this point, anyone is qualified to run for president —even her daughter.

"I think, at this point, everybody's qualified and everyone should run," she said on Good Morning America "I might even tap (her younger daughter) Sasha!"

Obama and her husband were about service before, during and after the presidency.

Candidates like Trump, drunk with power, have a past, present, and future that mirror that intoxication.

Coming off midterms there are questions about what to do next — investigations of Trump, what lessons did we learn articles, predictions of the 2020 election, but getting back to what a leader, a public servant of this country is supposed to do — lead by serving its people — is a message that voters can review candidate criteria with.

"It's amazing to me that we still have to tell people about the importance of voting," she said. "People have to be educated, they have to be focused on the issues and they have to go to the polls if they want their politics to reflect their values."

Obama explained, "Where I'm at right now is that we should see anybody who feels the passion to get in this race, we need them in there. Let's see who wants to roll up their sleeves and get in the race. That's what the primary process is for."

In looking at Trump's record, most of his decisions have been made to serve himself. His record of cheating employees out of money, not paying taxes, discriminating against Blacks in terms of who could claim residency in his buildings, misogynistic comments, scandals around payoffs for affairs — none of it shows signs of service.

Obama writes in her new memoir "Becoming" how Trump's division and bigoted messaging tactics to garner a movement to propel his campaign impacted her own family's safety:

"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."

In current times, his decisions in the White House usually involve a lot of divisive words to spark attention from white supremacists, "look what I did" moments on twitter for validation, and little about what the country needs, but instead what the country should be afraid of.

And that is not why you get the job in the first place.

HBCUs​ Set Foundation for Black Politicians in Key Positions

"Black people have always been underestimated. The Black college experience is still an exceptional way to train young people," said Senator Art Haywood, a Morehouse Graduate.

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What Kamala Harris, Alma Adams, Andrew Gillum and Stacey Abrams all have in common, in addition to being influential in U.S. politics, is they're graduates of Historically Black Colleges and Universities ( HBCUs) — Howard University, North Carolina A&T, Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University, and Spelman College.

Approximately 40 percent of the members of Congress are HBCU graduates, according to the Network Journal, a Black professional and small business magazine. And recipients of The United Negro College Fund and Thurgood Marshall Foundation scholarships graduate from college at rates well above the national average.

"We're producing outstanding leaders in all of the major professions," said Harry L. Williams, president and CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and former Delaware State president.

"Anytime you can look at (HBCU) success stories, it just enhances their relevancy and continues to move them forward in a positive way."

This year, a record 38 women of color were elected to Congress. Many of them are HBCU graduates.

The prospect of so many Black-college graduates being elected to statewide office in the same year is unprecedented, Keneshia Grant, an assistant professor of political science at Howard University, said.

And they are touting their HBCU training. Abrams expressed her disapproval of legislation plans for education that did not include those institutions.

Gillum responded to President Trump's tweet attacking him about his lack of Ivy League education:

Art Haywood is one of four Black state senators in Pennsylvania, and one of two from Morehouse.

"If the two Black state senators had come from Harvard or Yale, then those schools would get all the credit," Haywood said.

"Black people have always been underestimated," Haywood said. "I don't think there's any more validation required. The Black college experience is still an exceptional way to train young people."

Of politicians like Abrams and Gillum, the president of HBCU Dillard University Walter Kimbrough said they are sending a message: "It's a reaffirmation, not only for students but for families, that you can go to an HBCU and compete with anyone."

Approximately 13 percent of HBCU graduates are CEOS, 40 percent are engineers and 50 percent are professors at non-HBCUs, according to the Network Journal.

The HBCUs Make America Strong: The Positive Economic Impact of Historically Black Colleges and Universities study shows how the United States economy benefits from HBCUs: $14.8 billion in economic impact. In addition, graduates predominantly come from low-income areas, giving them and the communities the opportunity to break cycles of poverty and open doors to successful and lucrative careers. Individual graduates can earn $927,000 within their lifetime, $130 billion collectively over their lifetime.

White Nationalists Feel at Home Visiting the White House

Identity Evropa leader, whose group believes in returning people of color back to native homelands, posts tour photos. Meanwhile, Trump calls Black reporter's white nationalism question "racist."

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Patrick Casey, leader of alt-right white nationalist group, Identity Evropa, and Charlottesville marcher, posted a visit to the White House on social media this week:

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​Teachers Dress Up as Mexicans and Trump's Wall​, Face Backlash

School board says the teachers exercised poor judgement during a team building exercise; suspended them with pay.

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For Halloween, several teachers at Middleton Elementary School in Canyon County, Idaho, wore red, white and blue, and stood behind a fake brick wall with "Make America Great Again" written on it. Meanwhile, another group wore sombreros, mustaches, and held maracas. Initially posted on the school's Facebook page, outrage among parents forced the post to be removed.

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Pittsburgh Told Trump Not to Visit, He Went Anyway

Thousands protested for the 11 lives lost, the two victims in Louisville, and the many more stifled by President Trump's racism and bigotry.

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Trump visited the synagogue on Tuesday and left.

On Wednesday he tweeted, "The Office of the President was shown great respect on a very sad & solemn day. Small protest was not seen by us, staged far away. The Fake News stories were just the opposite-Disgraceful!"

Nearly 70,000 people as of Tuesday signed the petition from the Pittsburgh affiliate of Bend the Arc to demand Trump stay away from Pittsburgh.

Mayor Bill Peduto, a Democrat, had asked Trump to reschedule his visit to respect the grieving families and funerals.

Steven Halle, a nephew of one of the victims, Daniel Stein, rejected a meeting with Trump because of his comments blaming the synagogue for not having an armed guard to stop the gunman "immediately."

"Everybody feels that they were inappropriate," Halle said of Trump's comments. "A church, a synagogue, should not be a fortress. It should be an open, welcoming place to feel safe," he continued.

But Trump didn't care and came for his photo ops, and to promote Republican candidate Keith Rothfus via Twitter:

Trump told Fox News on Monday night:

"I'm also going to the hospital to see the officers and some of the people that were so badly hurt," Trump said. "I really look forward to going. I would have done it even sooner, but I didn't want to disrupt any more than they already had disruption."

But his visit was drowned out by thousands who took to the streets of the city to protest, marching toward the synagogue, singing songs, and holding signs that said, ""Refugees Are Not Invaders," "Pittsburgh Builds Bridges Not Walls" and "Pittsburgh Welcomes All Who Don't Hate."

Tuesday evening, Tracy Baton, director of the Pittsburgh chapter of the Women's March on Washington, stood on the steps of the Sixth Presbyterian Church and spoke to thousands:

Those who "would insert themselves on a national stage, into a city in mourning, before the dead are buried, is unacceptable," she said. "Those that would limit our neighbors' vote, that would foment hate against the Jewish community, Muslim community, people of color, LGBTQ people, as well as wage a war on women's bodies, are not welcome here!"

Jewish group IfNotNow organized a protest and sat shiva. Organizer and Pittsburgh resident Diana Clarke told the crowd, "We are here to mourn the 11 Jewish people who were killed on Saturday. We are here to mourn the two black people who were shot by a white nationalist in Louisville, Kentucky, last week."

"I think that Donald Trump represents white nationalism and white supremacy, and that has no place in the mourning lives lost to exactly those systems that his administration upholds," Clarke told HuffPost.

"We have people who can't sit shiva because you're blocking our streets!" the Rev. Susan Rothenberg, a Presbyterian minister screamed at Trump when he arrived. "These people can't grieve! You're causing them pain!"

She continued, "You only care about you! You are not welcome on my street! These are my neighbors that were killed! You are not welcome in Squirrel Hill! Do you understand that?"

White Photographer Slammed for Mocking Violence in Congo for Wedding Shoot

Social media users call out the couple for racist and tone-deaf photos.

John Milton and his wife bragged about their wedding photoshoot consisting of being held at gunpoint atop a volcano, saying their vows "while a civil war is brewing," "cruising" through a ghetto, and carrying "Blood diamonds" and an AK47.

Milton, a former investment banker turned travel photographer, had the wedding photos featured under the title "Outside the Box Congo Wedding Shoot with the Leica M10." On Instagram the couple said, they "wanted to make sure we didn't have the typical goofy wedding shots."

"After the Congo wedding we needed an epic honeymoon," Milton said of his photos. "Therefore we decided upon a daring adventure in an Islamic region of Africa where sadly enough modern-day slavery still exists."

Because you care? Using Black people's experience as a way to display this notion that you care and can't possibly be racist, while being completely tone-deaf to the exploitation you are committing IS RACIST.

Perspective: Trump does it all the time by carefully placing behind him at rallies Latinos and Blacks, and white women, too. (And even once being astonished on stage when he met a Latino border patrol agents who speaks English well.) So there's your comrade, Milton. Trump. Let that sink in.

Social media brought this eurocentrism to light. Milton took down his social media account soon after.

Of course anyone with sense is condemning it, but one special lady:

She must agree with Milton's view of himself and his art.

In his 2016 interview, he claimed his first career was a bit too vain:

"Being an investment banker usually means you become quite self-absorbed. Photography allows me to get away from "me" and concentrate on the world around me."

He also said, "Upon my retirement I realized I am still young enough (45) to start leading an impactful and adventurous life. I've seen too many successful people around me who are not enjoying their wealth, not really living (working too hard, not playing hard enough)."

Others who saw Milton's art aren't racist:

Transgender People Reject Bigoted Policy​, Say They #WontBeErased​

The Trump administration proposes that government agencies should define sex as "a person's status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth."

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#WontBeErased hashtag erupted hours after The New York Times reported the Trump administration's push via a memo for a new legal definition of gender, which would essentially eradicate the estimated 1.4 million Americans who identify as a different gender than the one assigned assigned at birth.

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Michelle Obama Continues Work to Empower Women and Girls

"Sorry that you feel uncomfortable, but [women are] now paving the way for the next generation," Obama says to the men who are disturbed by the Me Too movement.

Former first lady Michelle Obama continues to keep girls at the forefront of her mission as she resumes, using her powerful platform.

Obama, in a recent interview, talked about the Me Too movement and its impact, as well as the importance of girls now having to deal with the same issues.

"Change is not a direct smooth path. There's going to be bumps and resistance," she said on NBC's "Today Show," citing that many will be uneasy about the movement.

"There has been a status quo with the way women have been treated."

Obama said that women have to say to men who are disturbed by the movement, "Sorry that you feel uncomfortable but I'm now paving the way for the next generation."

"We have to think about the way we're paving for our girls," she added.

Referring to the 98 million adolescent girls not in school, she said "The stats show that when you educate a girl, you educate a family, a community, a country."

Obama has been working on international girls' education, since 2015, in a project called Let Girls Learn, which remained with the White House when the Obamas departed.

Her new project, The Global Girls Alliance, grew from a 2013 conversation in the White House with Pakistani human rights advocate Malala Yousafzai, then a teenager. Yousafzai's work focuses on girls who are denied education for war, economic pressure, cultural norms and prejudice.

Announced on the International Day of the Girl via the Obama Foundation, the organization is partnering with nonprofits like She's the First (which created the Girls First Network, a knowledge sharing community for girl-focused NGOs), Girl Up (which will ensure girls are connected to safe-spaces and girl-focused leadership), Girl's Inc. (encourages girls to understand and represent global voices through Leadership and Community Action program), and Girl Scouts of the USA (that created a toolkit to learn about girls' education from global and national perspectives).

GoFundMe will filter funds to six vetted organizations, seeking amounts from $5,000 to $50,000, at a time. When one project's goal is reached, a new organization will take its place on GoFundMe.

The last time Obama became vocal about gender equality, she was responding to Trump's "grab 'em by the pussy" and similar comments after the Billy Bush tape was revealed. Obama said it had "shaken me to my core."

"This is not something that we can ignore," Obama said in 2016. "This was a powerful individual speaking freely and openly about sexually predatory behavior, and actually bragging about kissing and groping women."

Of the current times, Obama said, "I chose to engage because there's no choice. The world is a, sadly, dangerous place for women and girls, and we see that again and again. Young women are tired of it. They're tired of being undervalued, they're tired of being disregarded, they're tired of their voices not being invested in and heard."

First Lady Michelle Obama Launches Global Girls Alliance


Reader Question: What do you think of Michelle Obama's stance toward the men who find women speaking up in and around MeToo uncomfortable?

Trump's EPA Chief is a Fan of Racist Alt-Right Social Media Posts

Andrew Wheeler also joins the club of Trump's administrators who deny being racist.

Ethics violations pushed Scott Pruit, former EPA Chief to resign last year, and President Trump replaced him with Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist, who likes racist social media posts about the Obamas.

American Bridge 21st Century, a Democratic political action committee, found social media posts belonging to Wheeler that spanned defending alt-right member Milo Yiannopoulos' tweet to encourage the harassment of actress Leslie Jones, to liking Infowars tweets, to Dinesh D'Souza's discrediting of Brett Kavanaugh's accuser, to an ape depiction of the Obamas.

Wheeler's response to the outing of his favorite social media posts:

"Over the years, I have been a prolific social media user, and liked, and inadvertently liked, countless social media posts," Wheeler said, in an email to The Huffington Post. "Specifically, I do not remember the post depicting President Obama and the First Lady. As for some of the other posts, I agreed with the content and was unaware of the sources."

Some racists in Trump's camp, who were outed, lost their positions. Carl Higbie of AmeriCorps stepped down after racist and sexist remarks he made on radio surfaced. Ian Smith of Homeland Security resigned after his ties to white nationalists were revealed on emails. Rev. Jamie Johnson, also of Homeland Security, resigned after his comments surfaced about Black people being lazy, and Islam being a violent religion.

For those lucky enough to stay on the White House payroll, they continue to be policy makers.

Ronald Vitiello, acting ICE director, attended an anti-immigration group's conference last month (Federation for American Immigration Reform) where an anti-Muslim group, ACT for America, honored former ICE Director Thomas Homan.

Stephen Miller, White House adviser, helped institute the Muslim travel ban, separate immigrant children and parents, and is working on plans to limit and strip citizenship of documented immigrants. He was heard saying last year in National Security Council meetings: "We must save Americans from these immigrant criminals!"

And, of course, Mike Pence lauded former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was found guilty of ignoring a judge's order to stop systematic racial profiling patrols in the Phoenix area, as a "tireless champion of strong borders and the rule of law." Arpaio was pardoned by Trump last year, and ran for (but lost) an US Senate seat.

Reader Question: Do you buy Wheeler's explanation of inadvertently liking posts and not remembering or being unaware of sources? Join The Conversation below.

White Nationalists and Republicans Feel Dissed by Taylor Swift

Swift's alignment with human rights, LGBTQ rights, and the fight against systemic racism brings backlash.

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UPDATE: Swift Sways an Uptick in Voter Registration That Has Never Been Seen

Taylor Swift's post did more than tick-off alt-righters. It motivated newer voters to register in a big way.

Typically, there is an uptick in voting registration that occurs right before elections, but according to Vote.org Chief Operating Officer Raven Brooks, "…this absolutely has been a massive 48-hour period for us and I would attribute it in large part to her. We would've had elevated traffic from normal because of registration deadlines happening this week, but this is an order of magnitude greater than anything we've seen to date."

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Connie Chung: I Was Sexually Assaulted By My GYN 50 Years Ago

"What made this monster even more reprehensible was that he was the very doctor who delivered me," wrote Chung.

Amid President Trump and Republicans questioning Christine Blasey Ford's remembrance of the alleged sexual assault, but not the exact details of when, women have come out sharing their vulnerable selves and accounts of assault to support Ford.

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Kavanaugh vs. Ford

A tale of a complete lack of diversity causing bad decisions, and shifting opinions nationwide, as well as a teachable moment for corporate America.

Having zero diversity, and by trying to make it "Kavanaugh vs. Ford," the old, white Republican men lost control of the nomination, and made it about them versus all women, a situation that, at best, will be a Pyrrhic victory.

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