President-elect Donald Trump took issue Saturday with First Lady Michelle Obama’s contention that she and others are now feeling the loss of “hope,” saying there is good reason for Americans to feel optimistic about the nation’s future.
Speaking at a rally in Mobile, Ala., Mr. Trump brought up Mrs. Obama’s comments toward the end of an hour-long address in which he laid out plans for his presidency and savored his surprise victory.
He made reference to part of a televised interview that aired Friday in which Mrs. Obama told Oprah Winfrey, “Now we’re feeling what not having hope feels like.”
Mrs. Obama, talking about how her husband sought to imbue Americans with a sense of “hope,” added that “we feel the difference now.”
Normally biting in his treatment of critics, Mr. Trump took a softer approach in his rebuttal.
“Michelle Obama said yesterday that there’s no hope,” he said. At the mention of Mrs. Obama’s name, boos rose from the crowd.
He went on to say that “we have tremendous hope and we have tremendous promise and we have tremendous potential.”
He cited his post-election visit to the White House, when he and his wife Melania met privately with the Obamas.
“She could not have been nicer,” Mr. Trump said of the first lady.
He said that Mrs. Obama’s comments might have been misconstrued and that she did not mean people feel hopeless because he will soon be president.