In her nearly 19-minute speech, Obama denounced President Donald Trump for creating chaos and division and failing to lead with empathy and competence. She also urged Americans to bring his presidency to an end and elect former Vice President Joe Biden.
Many right-wing figures, including some Fox News contributors, criticized the address online. Fox News chose not to air much of the first portion of the convention, opting instead to show Sean Hannity interviewing Donald Trump Jr. Nonetheless, the conservative network’s panel for the convention was apparently impressed by Obama’s speech.
“It’s very difficult to try to connect with an audience without an actual audience there with you but she has the ability to connect with people through the screen,” Fox News anchor Dana Perino said. “You got the sense when you talk about authenticity, she has it in spades.”
“She has that voice, she has clarity, and she knows what she is out there wanting to do,” Perino added. “She was trying to get everybody to really focus and then she had a call to action. Ask for your ballot tonight. I think that the DNC if they look over the course of the night, the first virtual convention of our history, I think they would say that Michelle Obama stuck the landing.”
— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) August 18, 2020
Fox News host Chris Wallace agreed, saying Obama’s speech was a “heck of a contribution” to Biden’s campaign.
“She really flayed, sliced and diced Donald Trump, talking about the chaos and confusion and lack of empathy, especially coming from this president and from this White House,” he said.
Juan Williams, a network co-host and political analyst, said he believed Obama’s address outdid her rousing “When they go low, we go high” speech in July 2016. He compared the tone she took with viewers as something like that of a mother addressing her family.
″‘This is who we are in this family. This is our identity. We have empathy. We understand compassion,’” he said. “I am surprised at how penetrating I felt it to be. I really thought that was a great speech.”
Even conservative analyst Brit Hume had mostly positive notes to offer.
“She was very good, she’s a very good speaker, for someone who doesn’t like politics she certainly is good at it,” he said. However, Hume also claimed Obama’s remarks were “laced with distortions and exaggerations.”
Former DNC chair Donna Brazile, now a Fox News contributor, said she was disappointed that Obama didn’t mention Biden’s historic running mate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.).
Watch the full panel discussion about the speech below
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