Former first lady Michelle Obama implored Republicans on Monday to acknowledge Joe Biden’s electoral victory in a candid Instagram post that touched on her own experiences in the 2016 transition.
"The presidency doesn’t belong to any one individual or any one party. To pretend that it does, to play along with these groundless conspiracy theories—whether for personal or political gain—is to put our country’s health and security in danger," Obama wrote. "This isn’t a game."
The post comes as President Donald Trump continues to refuse the results of this year’s presidential election, and several of his Republican allies continue to uphold his claims. Trump and his surrogates have launched a litany of legal challenges asserting that the election was stolen from him — even though nonpartisan and Republican election officials from numerous states have attested to there being no widespread irregularities this year.
In her post, Obama admits that she had difficulty accepting Trump’s victory in 2016 over Hillary Clinton, particularly in light of Trump’s support for the racist birther theory that claimed Barack Obama was not born in the United States (the former president was born in Hawaii, and Trump has since renounced the claim). Still, Michelle Obama wrote, she tried to be as helpful as possible to the incoming Trump administration — offering both memos for staffers and personal advice for the Trump family — because "I knew in my heart it was the right thing to do."
"Our democracy is so much bigger than anybody’s ego. Our love of country requires us to respect the results of an election even when we don’t like them or wish it had gone differently," Obama wrote.
Her post touched on a sense of urgency in pushing for Americans to accept the results of the election. According to a recent POLITICO/Morning Consult poll, 70 percent of Republicans do not feel the election was "free and fair," in spite of election officials and observers assuring that it was.
The Trump administration has also yet to recognize Biden as the electoral victor, stonewalling his team from federal resources to set the transition process fully in motion. Those delays can have serious consequences, particularly as the new administration takes the reins on the nation’s coronavirus pandemic response. Biden said during a Monday news conference that "more people may die" if the current administration refuses to coordinate with his team.
"I want to urge all Americans, especially our nation’s leaders, regardless of party, to honor the electoral process and do your part to encourage a smooth transition of power, just as sitting presidents have done throughout our history," Obama wrote.
Obama wrote her message as a caption to a photo of her and her husband on Inauguration Day in 2017.
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