Michelle Obama faces backlash after comparing President Trump to a bad parent

April 8, 2018

Former First Lady Michelle Obama is eating her words after attempting to distinguish between her husband’s administration and that of President Donald Trump. After insisting that Barack Obama was “the good parent,” while calling Trump the “other parent,” Mrs. Obama has been accused of exhibiting “liberal elitism” and “demean[ing] the American people.”

Former Trump campaign spokeswoman Katrina Pierson stood by that characterization during a recent appearance on Fox and Friends Weekend, where she defended the president’s leadership style. She said she is “very proud of the parent we have in the White House,” and argued that the former first lady’s comparison lacks accountability.

Carrots or candy

Speaking at the Simmons Leadership Conference in Boston, Obama likened her husband to “the responsible parent, the one who told you to eat your carrots and go to bed on time.” She was less complimentary of his successor, saying:

And now perhaps we have the other parent… Maybe it feels fun to some now because we can eat candy all day and stay up late and not follow the rules.

Pierson found this description self-righteous, sanctimonious, and exceedingly insulting to Americans who aren’t looking for a nanny state to regulate their private lives.

“This was liberal elitism on full display,” she said. “To constantly insult and demean the American people without any accountability of their own.”

Indeed, Mrs. Obama’s analogy of carrots and candy hit home in ways she clearly was not expecting, considering that her husband was often accused of executive overreach for attempting to “nudge” Americans toward making the most mundane lifestyle choices.

His administration convened task forces dedicated to learning how to convince Americans to eat healthily, make certain consumer choices, save for retirement, and sign up for healthcare — decisions that most Americans can make without the help of a bloated government bureaucracy “nudging” them in a preferred direction.

The Nanny State

But like her husband, Michelle Obama looks at Americans as children who must be force-fed their “carrots” and told to “go to bed on time.”

The irony of Mrs. Obama’s statement wasn’t lost on Pierson, however, who countered:

I will tell you what parents are concerned with, which is why they fundamentally rejected the last eight years of Barack Obama. They want to be able to give their kids Cheetos if they want to, because Michelle Obama thought that parents couldn’t decide what their own children should eat for lunch.

Pierson was absolutely right to point out that the former first lady’s analogy was a literal one. With the intention of combating childhood obesity, Michelle Obama thought it would be wise to introduce the undeveloped and youthful palate to meals like vegetable curry, quinoa, and black-eyed pea salad.

Predictably, Obama’s lunch menu was a super-sized flop, as children let their entire meals go to waste rather than stomach their government-approved meals. That she is now using her failed federal force-feeding mandate as a simile to extol the virtues of her husband’s administration is the ultimate irony.

Pierson, who worked closely with Trump after she was hired as a spokeswoman for his campaign in November 2015, cited this relationship to defend the president’s leadership and parenting ability. She pointed to the class and intelligence of the five Trump children, Donald Jr., Ivanka, Eric, Tiffany, and Barron, as evidence of the president’s competent parenting skills.

Bucking tradition, the Obamas have remained persistent and outspoken critics of the incumbent president since they left office. But Mrs. Obama should screen her criticism more carefully in the future — especially when her insults happen to be an indictment of her own failed enterprise as the first lady.


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Benjamin Baird

Benjamin Baird is a senior staff writer for the Conservative Institute. He is a veteran infantryman of Iraq and Afghanistan with over 1000 days in combat and holds a degree in Middle Eastern studies from the American Military University. Ben is Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum and has written for dozens of conservative publications, including The Daily Caller, American Spectator, American Thinker, New English Review and Jewish News Syndicate.