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Michelle Obama said Monday night that from coronavirus deaths to the economy to foreign alliances and racial justice, President Trump has sewn "chaos, division and a total and utter lack of empathy."

The big picture: The former first lady is one of the most popular and motivating figures across the ideological range of the Democratic Party, and is one of the most powerful voices for turning out women and voters of color. Her speech was recorded. While she reprised her 2016 mantra — "When they go low, we go high" — Obama was direct in her criticism of Trump.

"So let me be as honest and clear as I possibly can. Donald Trump is the wrong president for our country. He has had more than enough time to prove that he can do the job, but he is clearly in over his head. He cannot meet this moment. He simply cannot be who we need him to be for us. It is what it is."

What she's saying: "Going high is the only thing that works, because when we go low, when we use those same tactics of degrading and dehumanizing others, we just become part of the ugly noise that's drowning out everything else. We degrade ourselves, we degrade the very causes for which we fight," Obama said.

  • "A president's words have the power to move markets. They can start wars or broker peace. They can summon the better angels or awaken our worst instincts. You simply cannot fake your way through this job."
  • "Whatever the reason, in the end, those choices sent someone to the Oval Office who lost the national popular vote by nearly 3 million votes."

Go deeper

Obama addresses Trump transition in first interview since election

Screenshot: CBS News

Former President Obama told CBS' "Sunday Morning" that he often does not take President Trump "personally or seriously."

What's new: In his first television interview since the 2020 presidential election, Obama responded to Trump's claim that he has "done more for the African American community than any president since Abraham Lincoln."

The new Washington

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Axios subject-matter experts brief you on the incoming administration's plans and team.

Rep. Lou Correa tests positive for COVID-19

Lou Correa. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Lou Correa (D-Calif.) announced on Saturday that he has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Correa is the latest Democratic lawmaker to share his positive test results after last week's deadly Capitol riot. Correa did not shelter in the designated safe zone with his congressional colleagues during the siege, per a spokesperson, instead staying outside to help Capitol Police.