Michelle Obama breaks down why voting Biden in—and Trump out—will end America's chaos

For eight years, Michelle Obama had a front row seat to the U.S. presidency. Perhaps more than any other citizen, she's seen what that job entails and what the character of the person holding that office means for their ability to do the job.

As the world's most admired woman several years running, Obama has an audience. And though she's famously detached from the nitty gritty world of politics, she has the first-hand experience to offer some words of wisdom. Today, she's done just that.

In a 26-minute video posted to social media, Obama makes a "closing argument" for ending the Trump presidency and opening a new chapter of decency and calm with Joe Biden. In it, she lays out where we are in this crazy, chaotic moment and explains how the president has contributed to getting us here. "Let's be honest," she says. "The country is in chaos because of a president who isn't up to the job."

She also lays out reasons for voting for Biden, whom she calls "a leader who has the character and the experience to put an end to this chaos, start solving these problems and help lighten the load for families all across the country."


It's clear that the former First Lady filmed the video prior to the president contracting COVID-19, as she doesn't mention the diagnosis (or the irresponsible insanity that has followed) in it. She also shared this message on Facebook with the video:

"I understand if the last few days have felt like a whirlwind. My heart goes out to everyone touched by this virus—from those in the White House, especially the Secret Service and residence staff whose service to this country ought never be taken for granted, to all those across the country whose names and stories most of us will unfortunately never know.

The truth is, the events of the past few days are a bracing reminder of the tragedy that has been this administration's response to this crisis. And I'll be very honest: This is a message I'd planned to release earlier, and after everything that's happened, I weighed whether or not to go public at all. But I wanted you all to hear what's been on my mind. Because the drama of the past few days has only emphasized what's at stake in this election, from the coronavirus to a constant drumbeat of fear, division, and chaos that's threatening to spiral out of control. There's only one way we can pull ourselves out—by voting for my friend Joe Biden, who's got the heart, the experience, and the character to lead us to better days.

So I hope you'll watch, and I hope you'll share this video with everyone you know who might still be deciding how or if they're going to vote. And more than anything, I hope you'll vote for Joe with power, with passion, and with a love of this country that cannot possibly be denied."

Michelle Obama's Closing Argument | Joe Biden For President 2020 youtu.be

There's a lot of compelling stuff in there, but here are some highlights worth revisiting.

On Trump's values:

"A president's policies are a direct reflection of their values and we're seeing that truth on display with our current president who has devoted his life to enriching himself, his family and other wealthy people he truly understands, cutting taxes for the rich and big corporations, cutting regulations that protect regular families from getting taken advantage of by people like him, cutting his friends loose from prison time. He boasts about gains in the stock market, but when you look at the lives of regular folks, whether it's creating blue-collar jobs, making healthcare more affordable, protecting the environment, keeping our family safe from gun violence, let alone the coronavirus, there's nothing much to brag about."

On Biden's values:

"By contrast, Joe Biden has lived his life guided by values and principles that mirror ones that most Americans can recognize. I know Joe. He is a good man who understands the struggles of everyday folks. When he was a kid, his dad lost his job. His family had to move to find work. As a young man, he quit his job at a lucrative law firm to serve as a public defender protecting the rights of those who couldn't defend themselves.

He continued to serve this country, even in the face of unimaginable tragedy, losing his wife and baby daughter, later in his life, his eldest son. Relying on his deep faith in God to carry him through, never growing cynical and always willing to see the humanity in us all. It is that spirit, that determination that will make Joe the kind of president we need right now, one who will continue to put the needs of the country before his own to ensure that all families can get back on their feet and our economy can get back on track."

On how Biden will help the nation recover from the pandemic:

"He'll start by getting this virus under control, working with a broad coalition of leaders to develop a national strategy that will include mandatory mask wearing and free testing. He'll get schools the resources they need to sort through this confusion. He will listen to doctors and scientists to make sure that any vaccine will be safe, effective and available to everyone.

Joe Biden will also get back to work solving problems that this president has ignored or made worse these past four years. Joe will give working families a tax credit for childcare. He'll roll back those tax cuts for the rich and instead help small businesses and working families. He'll lower the cost of prescription drugs and give every American access to affordable health coverage. He'll work to restore trust between police and communities of color and address the racial discrimination that has plagued us for far too long. He will protect our planet. He will invest in our schools and bring people together to get something done, even across our differences."

On thinking beyond partisanship with your vote:

"I want to ask every single American, no matter what party you normally vote for, to please take a moment to pause. Click off the news. Think about how you felt over these last four years, how quickly things have turned and then think about what next four years could mean for our country's future, the message we will send to our children about who we are and what we truly value. Think about what would possibly compel you to accept this level of chaos, violence, and confusion under this president and be willing to watch our country continue to spiral out of control. Because we can no longer pretend that we don't know exactly who and what this president stands for."

On bringing competence and maturity back to the White House and ending the chaos:

"Right now, we've got a chance to start getting things back under control, to restore some stability and integrity and soul in this country. It is within our grasp. That's what keeps me going, thinking about a time not all that far off, with a new president in the Oval Office, a trustworthy, honest, stable leader with a clear plan for controlling this virus and getting our economy back on track. With meaningful support for families and schools, with competence and maturity instead of chaos and confusion. It is possible. It really is, but only if we vote for Joe Biden in this election. We have all been working so hard to keep ourselves and our families afloat and we deserve a president who will do the same."

Please vote, and vote early if possible. Visit vote.org to register to vote and find out about voting deadlines in your state.

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

I'll never forget the exhilaration I felt as I headed into the city on July 3, 2018. My pink hair was styled. I wore it up in a high ponytail, though I left two tendrils down. Two tendrils which framed my face. My makeup was done. I wore shadow on my eyes and blush on my cheeks, blush which gave me color. Which brought my pale complexion to life. And my confidence grew each time my heels clacked against the concrete.

My confidence grew with each and every step.

Why? Because I was a strong woman. A city woman. A woman headed to interview for her dream job.

I nailed the interview. Before I boarded the bus back home, I had an offer letter in my inbox. I was a news writer, with a salary and benefits, but a strange thing happened 13 months later. I quit said job in an instant. On a whim. I walked down Fifth Avenue and never looked back. And while there were a few reasons why I quit that warm, summer day: I was a new(ish) mom. A second-time mom, and I missed my children. Spending an hour with them each day just wasn't enough. My daughter was struggling in school. She needed oversight. Guidance. She needed my help. And my commute was rough. I couldn't cover the exorbitant cost of childcare. The real reason I quit was because my mental health was failing.


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Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

I'll never forget the exhilaration I felt as I headed into the city on July 3, 2018. My pink hair was styled. I wore it up in a high ponytail, though I left two tendrils down. Two tendrils which framed my face. My makeup was done. I wore shadow on my eyes and blush on my cheeks, blush which gave me color. Which brought my pale complexion to life. And my confidence grew each time my heels clacked against the concrete.

My confidence grew with each and every step.

Why? Because I was a strong woman. A city woman. A woman headed to interview for her dream job.

I nailed the interview. Before I boarded the bus back home, I had an offer letter in my inbox. I was a news writer, with a salary and benefits, but a strange thing happened 13 months later. I quit said job in an instant. On a whim. I walked down Fifth Avenue and never looked back. And while there were a few reasons why I quit that warm, summer day: I was a new(ish) mom. A second-time mom, and I missed my children. Spending an hour with them each day just wasn't enough. My daughter was struggling in school. She needed oversight. Guidance. She needed my help. And my commute was rough. I couldn't cover the exorbitant cost of childcare. The real reason I quit was because my mental health was failing.


Keep Reading Show less
True

Each year, an estimated 1.8 million people in the United States are affected by cancer — most commonly cancers of the breast, lung, prostate, and blood cancers such as leukemia. While not everyone overcomes the disease, thanks to science, more people are surviving — and for longer — than ever before in history.

We asked three people whose lives have been impacted by cancer to share their stories – how their lives were changed by the disease, and how they're using that experience to change the future of cancer treatments with the hope that ultimately, in the fight against cancer, science will win. Here's what they had to say.

Celine Ryan, 55, engineer database programmer and mother of five from Detroit, MI

Photo courtesy of Celine Ryan

In September 2013, Celine Ryan woke up from a colonoscopy to some traumatic news. Her gastroenterologist showed her a picture of the cancerous mass they found during the procedure.

Ryan and her husband, Patrick, had scheduled a colonoscopy after discovering some unusual bleeding, so the suspicion she could have cancer was already there. Neither of them, however, were quite prepared for the results to be positive -- or for the treatment to begin so soon. Just two days after learning the news, Ryan had surgery to remove the tumor, part of her bladder, and 17 cancerous lymph nodes. Chemotherapy and radiation soon followed.

Ryan's treatment was rigorous – but in December 2014, she got the devastating news that the cancer, once confined to her colon, had spread to her lungs. Her prognosis, they said, was likely terminal.

But rather than give up hope, Ryan sought support from online research, fellow cancer patients and survivors, and her medical team. When she brought up immunotherapy to her oncologist, he quickly agreed it was the best course of action. Ryan's cancer, like a majority of colon and pancreatic cancers, had been caused by a defect on the gene KRAS, which can result in a very aggressive cancer that is virtually "undruggable." According to the medical literature, the relatively smooth protein structure of the KRAS gene meant that designing inhibitors to bind to surface grooves and treat the cancer has been historically difficult. Through her support systems, Ryan discovered an experimental immunotherapy trial at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, MD., and called them immediately to see if she was eligible. After months of trying to determine whether she was a suitable candidate for the experimental treatment, Ryan was finally accepted.

The treatment, known as tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte therapy, or TIL, is a testament to how far modern science has evolved. With this therapy, doctors remove a tumor and harvest special immune cells that are found naturally in the tumor. Doctors then grow the cells in a lab over the next several weeks with a protein that promotes rapid TIL growth – and once the cells number into the billions, they are infused back into the patient's body to fight the cancer. On April 1, 2015, Ryan had her tumor removed at the NIH. Two months later, she went inpatient for four weeks to have the team "wash out" her immune system with chemotherapy and infuse the cells – all 148 billion of them – back into her body.

Six weeks after the infusion, Ryan and Patrick went back for a follow-up appointment – and the news they got was stunning: Not only had no new tumors developed, but the six existing tumors in her lungs had shrunk significantly. Less than a year after her cell infusion, in April 2016, the doctors told Ryan news that would have been impossible just a decade earlier: Thanks to the cell infusion, Ryan was now considered NED – no evaluable disease. Her body was cancer-free.

Ryan is still NED today and continuing annual follow-up appointments at the NIH, experiencing things she never dreamed she'd be able to live to see, such as her children's high school and college graduations. She's also donating her blood and cells to the NIH to help them research other potential cancer treatments. "It was an honor to do so," Ryan said of her experience. "I'm just thrilled, and I hope my experience can help a lot more people."

Patrice Lee, PhD, VP of Pharmacology, Toxicology and Exploratory Development at Pfizer

Photo courtesy of Patrice Lee

Patrice Lee got into scientific research in an unconventional way – through the late ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau.

Lee never met Cousteau but her dreams of working with him one day led her to pursue a career in science. Initially, Lee completed an undergraduate degree in marine biology; eventually, her interests changed and she decided to get a dual doctoral degree in physiology and toxicology at Duke University. She now works at Pfizer's R&D site in Boulder, CO (formerly Array BioPharma), leading a group of scientists who determine the safety and efficacy of new oncology drugs.

"Scientists focused on drug discovery and development in the pharmaceutical industry are deeply committed to inventing new therapies to meet unmet needs," Lee says, describing her field of work. "We're driven to achieve new medicines and vaccines as quickly as possible without sacrificing safety."

Among the drugs Lee has helped develop during her career, including cancer therapies, she says around a dozen are currently in development, while nine have received FDA approval — an incredible accomplishment as many scientists spend their careers without seeing their drug make it to market. Lee's team is particularly interested in therapies for brain metastases — something that Lee says is a largely unmet need in cancer research, and something her team is working on from a variety of angles. "Now that we've had rapid success with mRNA vaccine technology, we hope to explore what the future holds when applying this technology to cancers," Lee says.

But while evaluating potential cancer therapies is a professional passion of Lee's, it's also a mission that's deeply personal. "I'm also a breast cancer survivor," she says. "So I've been on the other side of things and have participated in a clinical trial."

However, seeing how melanoma therapies that she helped develop have affected other real-life cancer patients, she says, has been a highlight of her career. "We had one therapy that was approved for patients with BRAF-mutant metastatic melanoma," Lee recalls. "Our team in Boulder was graced by a visit from a patient that had benefited from these drugs that we developed. It was a very special moment for the entire team."

None of these therapies would be available, Lee says without rigorous science behind it: "Facts come from good science. Facts will drive the development of new drugs, and that's what will help patients."

Chiuying "Cynthia" Kuk (they/them) MS, 34, third-year medical student at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine

Photo courtesy of Cynthia Kuk

Cynthia Kuk was just 10 years old when they had a conversation that would change their life forever.

"My mother, who worked as a translator for the government at the time, had been diagnosed with breast cancer, and after her chemotherapy treatments she would get really sick," Kuk, who uses they/them pronouns, recalls. "When I asked my dad why mom was puking so much, he said it was because of the medicine she was taking that would help her get better."

Kuk's response was immediate: "That's so stupid! Why would a medicine make you feel worse instead of better? When I'm older, I want to create medicine that won't make people sick like that."

Nine years later, Kuk traveled from their native Hong Kong to the United States to do exactly that. Kuk enrolled in a small, liberal arts college for their Bachelor's degree, and then four years later started a PhD program in cancer research. Although Kuk's mother was in remission from her cancer at the time, Kuk's goal was the same as it had been as a 10-year-old watching her suffer through chemotherapy: to design a better cancer treatment, and change the landscape of cancer research forever.

Since then, Kuk's mission has changed slightly.

"My mom's cancer relapsed in 2008, and she ended up passing away about five years after that," Kuk says. "After my mom died, I started having this sense of urgency. Cancer research is such that you work for twenty years, and at the end of it you might have a fancy medication that could help people, but I wanted to help people now." With their mother still at the forefront of their mind, Kuk decided to quit their PhD program and enter medical school.

Now, Kuk plans to pursue a career in emergency medicine – not only because they are drawn to the excitement of the emergency room, but because the ER is a place where the most marginalized people tend to seek care.

"I have a special interest in the LGBTQ+ population, as I identify as queer and nonbinary," says Kuk. "A lot of people in this community and other marginalized communities access care through the ER and also tend to avoid medical care since there is a history of mistreatment and judgement from healthcare workers. How you carry yourself as a doctor, your compassion, that can make a huge difference in someone's care."

In addition to making a difference in the lives of LGBTQ+ patients, Kuk wants to make a difference in the lives of patients with cancer as well, like their mother had.

"We've diagnosed patients in the Emergency Department with cancer before," Kuk says. "I can't make cancer good news but how you deliver bad news and the compassion you show could make a world of difference to that patient and their family."

During their training, Kuk advocates for patients by delivering compassionate and inclusive care, whether they happen to have cancer or not. In addition to emphasizing their patient's pronouns and chosen names, they ask for inclusive social and sexual histories as well as using gender neutral language. In doing this, they hope to make medicine as a whole more accessible for people who have been historically pushed aside.

"I'm just one person, and I can't force everyone to respect you, if you're marginalized," Kuk says. "But I do want to push for a culture where people appreciate others who are different from them."