Former first lady Michelle Obama called on tech companies to permanently ban President Donald Trump from their platforms after Wednesday’s riots at the Capitol, which she contrasted with what she described as the “overwhelmingly peaceful” Black Lives Matter protests.
— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) January 7, 2021
Obama opened her statement by praising Sen.-elect Raphael Warnock (D-GA) for his recent victory to become Georgia’s first black senator.
“In just a few hours, though, my heart had fallen harder and faster than I can remember,” Obama continued. “Like all of you, I watched as a gang—organized, violent, and mad they’d lost an election—laid siege to the United States Capitol. They set up gallows. They proudly waved the traitorous flag of the Confederacy through the halls. They desecrated the center of American government. And once authorities finally gained control of the situation, these rioters and gang members were led out of the building not in handcuffs, but free to carry on with their days.”
Obama then aimed her fire at the president, whom she refused to name. “The day was a fulfillment of the wishes of an infantile and unpatriotic president who can’t handle the truth of his own failures. And the wreckage lays at the feet of a party and media apparatus that gleefully cheered him on, knowing full well the possibility of consequences like these,” she wrote.
Contrasting Wednesday’s demonstrations in Washington, D.C., with the protests the roiled the nation in the wake of George Floyd’s death, Obama then went on to suggest that the treatment the Capitol rioters faced was fundamentally racist.
“It all left me with so many questions—questions about the future, questions about security, extremism, propaganda, and more. But there’s one question I just can’t shake: What if these rioters had been like the folks who go to Ebenezer Baptist Church every Sunday? What would have been different?”
“I think we all know the answer,” the former first lady asserted. “This summer’s Black Lives Matter protests were an overwhelmingly peaceful movement—our nation’s largest demonstrations ever, bringing together people of every race and class and encouraging millions to re-examine their own assumptions and behavior. And yet, in city after city, day after day, we saw peaceful protestors met with brute force. We saw cracked skulls and mass arrests, law enforcement pepper spraying its way through a peaceful demonstration for a presidential photo op.”
“And for those who call others unpatriotic for simply taking a knee in silent protest, for those who wonder why we need to be reminded that Black Lives Matter at all, yesterday made it painfully clear that certain Americans are, in fact, allowed to denigrate the flag and symbols of our nation. They’ve just got to look the right way. What do all those folks have to say now?”
Obama noted that “the gulf between the responses to yesterday’s riot and this summer’s peaceful protests and the larger movement for racial justice is so painful,” and maintained that “true progress will be possible only once we acknowledge that this disconnect exists and take steps to repair it.”
Obama called both on Trump’s voters to acknowledge “the reality of what they’ve supported,” and also Big Tech to ensure he is muzzled. “Now is the time for Silicon Valley companies to stop enabling this monstrous behavior—and go even further than they have already by permanently banning this man from their platforms and putting in place policies to prevent their technology from being used by the nation’s leaders to fuel insurrection,” she wrote.
Obama concluded her statement by claiming that if the nation has any hope of improving, “swift and serious consequences for the failure of leadership that led to yesterday’s shame.”