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Impeachment

Michelle Obama Comments on Impeachment Hearings in New Interview

The political world in the United States has been completely absorbed by the ongoing impeachment inquiry taking place in Congress, as President Trump stands accused of subverting the integrity of the upcoming 2020 presidential election by requesting election assistance from a foreign power. Today, the House Judiciary Committee is holding its second hearing, as Democratic counsel Daniel Goldman lays out the case against Trump before the committee and Republican members of Congress interrupt the hearing with process arguments and other objections. Tensions rose even further during this hearing, as a protestor in the audience heckled Chairman Jerrold Nadler as he began the event before quickly being removed by police.

As today’s hearing consists mainly of arguments and evidence that have previously been discussed in prior hearings, it is not likely to be as newsworthy as previous events. However, former First Lady Michelle Obama recently made news during an interview with Jenna Bush Hager on Today Monday, during which she described the proceedings as “surreal.” While the focus of the interview was on the former First Lady’s trip to Vietnam to discuss the importance of educating young girls, she was asked about the hearings, giving a rare insight into how current political events are affecting the Obamas, who have mostly resisted calls to give their opinions on news relating to the White House over the past few years.

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On the proceedings, Ms. Obama said, “I don’t think people know what to make of it. But do I think we can come back from it? Oh yeah.” She elaborated on her optimistic outlook, saying, “We’ve seen tough times in this country. You know we’ve gone through depressions and wars and bombings and terrorist attacks, and we’ve gone through Jim Crow, and we’ve always come out stronger. And that’s what we have to continue to believe because what’s our choice? To ball up in a corner and call it a day? Well that’s not fair to this next generation that’s coming before us that are counting on us to get this right.”

Ms. Obama’s comments echo a common refrain of the power of hope and optimism that the Obama’s have articulated throughout their political lives. Barack Obama successfully ran a campaign based on his belief in the power of having hope and the capacity of the country to change for the better, and when he left office in 2017, he again urged Americans to remain hopeful throughout the presidency of Donald Trump, which he astutely predicted would be divisive and potentially harmful to the country. Notably, in his farewell address, President Obama urged Americans that the Constitution is a powerful document but only when people abide by it, and that the United States government depends on the action of patriots who uphold and defend the principles of the Constitution in order to survive. Since then, Obama has upheld the tradition of former presidents withholding commentary on current presidents, despite the fact that the Trump administration has had an unprecedented impact on the US government.

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As such, Ms. Obama tried to keep the focus of the interview on the work that she’s currently involved in, which is raising awareness about the importance of girls’ education around the world and improving access to educational resources. For instance, she supports the “Room to Read” program, which helps girls in Vietnam stay in school, even though in this part of the world girls are often pressured to drop out of school and work instead. After leaving Vietnam, the Obamas will next visit Malaysia, where they will continue their work on this topic. Ms. Obama explained that now that her daughters are in college, she and Barack have the opportunity to travel together more often, as previously they worried about being away from the kids at the same time. In the full interview, which Today has not yet released, Ms. Obama will discuss the emotional experience of dropping her daughter off at college for her freshman year, among other topics.