First lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaWe must mount an all-country response to help our Afghan allies Obamas, Bushes and Clintons joining new effort to help Afghan refugees Bidens, former presidents mark 9/11 anniversary MORE on Thursday delivered a stinging rebuke to Republican presidential nominee Donald TrumpDonald TrumpOhio Republican who voted to impeach Trump says he won't seek reelection Youngkin breaks with Trump on whether Democrats will cheat in the Virginia governor's race Trump endorses challenger in Michigan AG race MORE for boasting about sexually aggressive behavior toward women.
Speaking at a rally for Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonAttorney indicted on charge of lying to FBI as part of Durham investigation Durham seeking indictment of lawyer with ties to Democrats: reports Paul Ryan researched narcissistic personality disorder after Trump win: book MORE in New Hampshire, Obama gave one of the most emotional speeches of the 2016 campaign, saying Trump’s lewd comments and accusations that he groped women have “shaken me to my core in a way I couldn’t have predicted.”
“This is not normal, this is not politics as usual,” Obama said. “This is disgraceful, it is intolerable.”
The first lady did not mention Trump by name, but she said Democrats and Republicans alike should condemn his behavior, because it sets a poor example for the nation's children.
“We simply cannot endure this or expose our children to this any longer,” she said. “Now is the time for us all of us to stand up and say enough is enough. This has got to stop right now.”
The speech was a signature moment for the first lady, who earned rave reviews for her July speech at the Democratic National Convention and subsequent campaign stops for Clinton.
Her verbal barrage against Trump, which aired live on MSNBC and CNN, came at a time when his campaign his on the ropes due to the exploding controversy surrounding his comments about and treatment of women.
Obama’s voice quivered as she contemplated the significance of Trump’s 2005 remarks, in which he bragged about how his celebrity status allowed him to forcibly kiss women and grab their genitals.
The first lady said the Republican nominee’s comments were “so shocking, so demeaning” that she could not bear to “repeat anything here today.”
“I can't believe I'm saying that a candidate for president of the United States has bragged about sexually assaulting women,” Obama said.
Her emotions were evident again when she spoke about a meeting at the White House on Tuesday with young women and girls.
Obama said she told them all women “deserved to be treated with dignity and respect,” but acknowledged Thursday the developments of the last few days showed that’s often not the case.
“I think we can all agree this has been a rough week in an already rough election," she said. "This has been a week of profound contrast.”
Clinton sought to capitalize on Obama’s speech to build momentum against Trump.
The Democratic presidential nominee tweeted that she was “in awe” of the first lady’s remarks and her campaign texted supporters, asking them to donate money “to fight for women.”
Since the release of the 2005 video last week, Trump apologized for his comments but dismissed them as mere “locker room talk.” Trump also said during Sunday’s presidential debate that he never acted in the way he described.
But several women have since come forward to say that Trump groped them, kissed them or touched them in an inappropriate manner. The GOP presidential nominee has denied those allegations.
Obama rebutted Trump’s explanation, likening it to “the sick, sinking feeling” a woman has when they’re subject to catcalls or other unwanted attention.
She also dismissed Trump’s “locker room talk” explanation as “an insult to decent men everywhere.”
“Strong men, men who are truly role models, don’t need to put down women to make themselves feel powerful,” she said.
The first lady’s speech was speech was a counterpunch to Trump, who during the debate went after her publicly for the first time this year.
When Clinton cited Obama’s “when they go low, we go high” catchphrase, Trump responded that Michelle Obama had cut “some of the most vicious commercials I’ve ever seen” against her during the 2008 campaign.
Michelle Obama did make comments in 2007 about "good families" that were interpreted as a jab at Clinton, but they were never cut into a commercial for the Obama campaign.
The first lady sought to use Trump’s comments as a rallying cry for voters, especially women, to go to the polls and defeat the Republican in next month’s election.
“Imagine how you’ll feel if you stayed home or if you didn’t do everything possible to elect Hillary,” she said.
“We cannot allow ourselves to be so disgusted that we just shut off the TV and walk away,” Obama added. “And we can't just sit around wringing our hands. No, we need to recover from our shock and depression and do what women have always done in this country. We need you to roll up your sleeves, we need to get to work.”
- Updated at 3:01 p.m.