‘Ready for Michelle’ PACs urge 2020 run
Three new political committees have formed in the last month urging first lady Michelle Obama to run for president in 2020.
The pleas come despite repeated statements from both President Obama and Michelle Obama that she has no plans to ever run for elected office, let alone for president
But that hasn’t been enough to stop a viral effort from forming since Donald Trump’s election victory. In the days after the election, the hashtag #Michelle2020 began trending on Twitter.
The first PAC encouraging a Michelle Obama presidential run formed even before Election Day results were tallied.
Ready for Michelle, a super PAC that could raise unlimited sums from donors, filed its paperwork with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) on Oct. 31.
The name echoes a fundraising vehicle formed prior to the White House bid of Hillary Clinton, which just became Ready PAC once she announced her candidacy.
“The nomination process of the 2016 presidential election allowed for the selection of candidates that do not share the same poise, dignity, or popularity of Michelle Obama,” the Ready for Michelle website reads. “America needs a loving healer like Michelle in order to bring together factions of our divided nation to produce policy results.”
Identifying supporters and donors who would support her is the first step, the website continues.
“Then, if she can be convinced to run, we can provide her with an early advantage against any opponents,” it says.
Donald Garrett, a federal government employee from Virginia, founded the Ready for Michelle super PAC.
He told The Hill that there are about five people, including himself, volunteering their time to the effort — including circulating a pro-Michelle petition and running the website, www.ReadyforMichelle.com, and its Facebook page.
In the month since the group’s founding, the PAC has raised less than $1,000, he said, but garnered more than 1,000 signatures on the petition urging Obama to run. As a federal employee, Garrett is unable to engage in political fundraising, so others involved with the group handle money issues.
Two other PACs apparently promoting a Michelle Obama candidacy have filed organization paperwork with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) within the last two weeks. One is called Ready for Michelle 2020, while the other is called Friends of Michelle 2020.
Unlike the Ready for Michelle super PAC formed last month, the two PACs cannot raise unlimited sums of money from individual donors.
The three PACs appear to be unconnected from one another.
The Ready for Michelle 2020 PAC website, meanwhile, targets the policies of Trump and the Republican Congress.
“Please join us in our mission to educate and oppose President Trump with the same level of vigor that the Republicans used against President Obama,” the website says.
“Our promise is a campaign of action, and we intend to use every resource at our disposal to defeat conservatives at the Federal level, and block President Trump at every dangerous step of his term in office,” it reads. “Let’s put an Obama back in the White House in 2020.”
The PACs appear to be formed by political outsiders. Ready for Hillary, other the other hand, was operated and managed by Democratic operatives.
Ready for Michelle 2020 did not respond to a request for comment, but appears to have been founded by a chiropractor located in Connecticut, Erik B. Reich. According to his LinkedIn page, he received his undergraduate degree in political science.
The Friends of Michelle 2020 website is not yet active. It submitted FEC paperwork on Monday. The official email listed on forms bounced back when The Hill reached out for comment.
The first lady remains one of the most popular figures in American politics, often polling ahead of her husband, and was one of Clinton’s most effective surrogates during the campaign, earning accolades for her speeches.
However, by all accounts, the first lady is eager to leave Washington behind.
“Michelle was never wild about politics,” President Obama told Jimmy Kimmel on his late-night show last month. “Michelle once explained to me, ‘I try to organize my life not to have a lot of mess around, and politics is just a big mess.’”
David Axelrod, who served as chief strategist for Obama’s two presidential runs, told conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt that he would “bet everything [he owns]” that she would ever run for office.
In March of this year, Michelle weighed in on the topic at the South by Southwest festival in Austin.
“I will not run for president,” she said to an audience, which sounded its disappointment. “No, nope, not going to do it.”
Garrett, the founder of Ready for Michelle PAC, is still holding out hope that things might change.
“I always believed that the politicians like to play coy publicly, but keep their options open,” he told The Hill. “If you look at [Wisconsin Republican Rep.] Paul Ryan, when [former Speaker] John Boehner was resigning, he said ‘I don’t want anything to do with the Speakership.’ And then he changed his mind — and that’s where he is now.”
“Things in Washington change very quickly. … It’s important to be there should the wind blow in your direction,” Garrett said.
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