Chuck Todd: Whites Misunderstood Michelle Obama's Not 'Proud' of U.S. Comments

July 5th, 2018 11:09 AM

On a special pre-recorded July 4 edition of MTP Daily, MSNBC host Chuck Todd took the time to spin for former First Lady Michelle Obama as he recalled the day in February 2008 when the wife of then-presidential candidate Barack Obama admitted that she had not previously been "proud" of her country until she saw the positive reaction her husband was getting to his presidential run.

Todd claimed that white Americans had misunderstood her comments which, he suggested, were actually just a "compliment" toward America.

As the group discussed President Donald Trump's incorporation of patriotism into his political campaigns, and suggested that he is nostalgic for the 1950s, the Boston Herald's Kimberly Atkins complained that Trump tries to "create wedges" and be "divisive," and then added:

In the 1950s, you saw things like labor unions doing things that helped people of color, that helped people collectively get ahead more. You're not seeing that now. You're seeing, "I want mine, and, therefore, for me to get mine, you can't have yours."

Todd then tied patriotism to resentment of the Obamas as he mused:

I can't help but wonder how much of this is driven by -- with Trump and this patriotism thing -- is just a sole reactionary aspect to the Obamas in general. I want to play Michelle Obama during the 2008 campaign -- a famous quote of hers -- because, at the time, it was probably the first and last time she ever spoke her mind politically.

Then came a clip of Michelle Obama appearing in Madison, Wisconsin, on February 18, 2008: "For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country. And not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change."

Todd then turned to MSNBC contributor Jon Meacham, and engaged in historical revisionism and pro-Obama spin as he reacted:

When she said it, there was this huge uproar, and it became this thing, "How could you not do that?" And that was from white America. Anyone who was not white understood exactly what she meant by that, and it was not disrespectful to America. If anything, in her mind, she was only giving America another compliment.

Meacham began his analysis by agreeing, "Absolutely."

Todd missed the point that people were offended because Michelle Obama -- who turned 18 years of age in 1982 -- was admitting that between the 1980s through early 2008, she was not "proud" of America, and so therefore must have harbored negative sentiments about her country. People do not normally praise someone by stating that it is the "first time" that they have felt "proud" of that person.

Additionally, Todd also incorrectly claimed that it was the only time she made the comment. In fact, she had made a similar comment earlier the same day in Milwaukee, demonstrating that it was a pre-planned line. 

And, as some liberals tried to parse her words at the time because she had used the words "really proud" in the Madison version of the speech, the Milwaukee version did not even use the word "really" -- not that it truly altered the meaning anyway. Michelle Obama, in Wisconsin: "For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback."