Michelle Obama shouldn't lose hope with Trump White House
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As I look to the New Year, there is one resolution that I will cling to more than any other: I firmly resolve to embrace hope. Painful as it may be for some, hope — not hand wringing over the electoral college, Russian hacks or Comey memos — is the only force that can bring our country together after such a divisive 2016.

Sadly, some of our political leaders are not embracing hope and remain stuck in November. Case in point, First Lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaO.T. Fagbenle to play Barack Obama in Showtime anthology 'The First Lady' Gillian Anderson to play Eleanor Roosevelt in series on first ladies Obama, Springsteen launch eight-episode podcast MORE.

Earlier this month, Mrs. Obama made controversial remarks in an interview with Oprah stating: "we're feeling what not having hope feels like," in reference to the future under a Trump presidency. 

Those comments not only undermine her husband's efforts to work towards a smooth transition, they also assume America agrees with her. She did not say that only she is feeling hopeless, rather “we are feeling” hopeless. Are the assembly line workers out of a job and parents shut out of charter school lotteries hopeless? Many would disagree.

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If Democrats bring this glum philosophy into the next four years – one that assumes all of America feels hopeless – it will be even more difficult to reunite and expand their fractured base, and it also gives credence to the repudiation of Obama’s legacy. You don’t have to be a Trump supporter to be hopeful, and you don’t have to sacrifice your principles to reach for a brighter 2017. Case in point: Gov. Larry Hogan.

Gov. Hogan (R-MD) was staunchly opposed to a Trump presidency. Hogan skipped the Republican National Convention. He refused to endorse Trump. He wrote in his father's name on the ballot for President. In short, Governor Hogan was no fan of Trump.

 But during a recent sit-down interview I had with Hogan, he set all of that aside. He described his thoughts on the future under a Trump presidency as hopeful. 

"I'm hopeful," Hogan said, "just because I don't agree with everything, doesn't mean I don't want the President to succeed." He went on to explain, "I wanted President Obama to succeed. I want President Trump to succeed."

Hogan’s decision to openly express his hope for a Trump presidency is one that comes with great risk for his political future. A willingness to risk popularity in his very blue state where he will be up for reelection in 2018 is courageous and forthright. It puts his 71 percent approval rating (October Washington Post-University of Maryland) on the line. But if voters pay attention, he’s not “flip-flopping” or changing his political views on the issues. Instead, he’s simply talking about hope for the future. And Hogan knows a thing or two about hope.

Hogan was diagnosed with stage 3 non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in June of 2015. At the press conference announcing his diagnosis, he joked “the odds I have of beating this are much, much better than the odds I had of beating Anthony Brown.” (Brown’s loss was a shocking upset in the 2014 Maryland Governor’s race against Hogan).

But all jokes aside, his cancer was advanced and aggressive and he had 50 to 60 tumors throughout his body. After five rounds of chemotherapy, three surgeries, spinal taps and cancer treatments, he is now cancer-free, nearly one-year after his diagnosis. It wasn’t only treatment that got him through the battle. I’m certain it was also hope.

To be fair, Hogan has more obvious reasons to feel hope than Michelle Obama when it comes to the potential policies of the next four years. Hogan is good friends with Vice-President-Elect Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceOvernight Health Care: Senate to vote on .9 trillion relief bill this week | J&J vaccine rollout begins | CDC warns against lifting restrictions Haley praises Trump CPAC speech after breaking with him over Capitol riot Republican Ohio Senate candidate calls on GOP rep to resign over impeachment vote MORE and described his relationship with future White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus as "great." 

These relationships will likely help his state’s relationship with the federal government.

But the first lady should also feel hope. President-Elect Trump has been open to advice and guidance from President Obama, admitting to consulting with the President on his cabinet selections. I fully realize the history between the President and President-Elect is battered and scarred, but the two have both publicly spoken of efforts to work towards a smooth transition.

To be clear, I am not discrediting the fears that both Democrats and Republicans bring to the table in anticipation of Trump’s policies, the shock over his use of twitter to discuss international trade and nuclear policy, and the concerns over conflicts of interest (at a minimum).

Those are real and valid points that must be explored, questioned and pushed back on. I am, however, discrediting those who have resigned themselves to hopelessness. That is an unacceptable resignation of faith in the future of America and faith in the three branches of government designed by our founding fathers.

Mrs. Obama should remember her own words, repeated so many times. "When they go low, we go high." 

The line is filled with hope, as we all should be. 

Ronica Cleary is a Political Reporter for Fox 5 News and Co-Host of Fox 5 News On The Hill.


The views expressed by Contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.