Michelle Obama has made her strongest political intervention since leaving the White House, stating bluntly at a health conference: “Think about why someone is OK with your kids eating crap.”
One of the former first lady’s signature legacies was an effort to reduce childhood obesity. Earlier this month, Donald Trump’s administration froze regulations that would cut sodium and increase whole grains served in school meals.
“We have a lot more work to do, for sure, but we’ve got to make sure we don’t let anybody take us back because the question is, where are we going back to?” Obama told a Partnership for a Healthier America summit in Washington.
“This is where you really have to look at motives, you know. You have to stop and think: why don’t you want our kids to have good food at school? What is wrong with you?”
The remarks prompted cheers and applause from a packed hotel ballroom. Seemingly liberated from her official role, Obama was by turns combative, exasperated, feisty, incredulous, passionate, peeved and sardonic.
The 53-year-old demanded: “And why is that a partisan issue? Why would that be political? What is going on? You know, now that’s up to moms. Moms, think about this. I don’t care what state you live in. Take me out of the equation. Like me, don’t like me, but think about why someone is OK with your kids eating crap. Why would you celebrate that? Why would you sit idly and be OK with that?
“Because here’s the secret: if somebody is doing that, they don’t care about your kid, and we need to demand everyone to care deeply about kids. That’s all we have. So we should be driving this and every elected official on this planet should understand: don’t play with our children. Don’t do it.”