WASHINGTON: Formally joining the anti-Trump bandwagon, US First Lady Michelle Obama took a dig at the presumptive Republican presidential nominee by saying that America does not build "walls" to keep immigrants out.
"Here in America, we do not give into our fears. We do not build up walls to keep people out because we know that our greatness has always depended on contributions from people who were born elsewhere but sought out this country and made it their home," Michelle, 52, said in her address to students of City College of New York yesterday.
"From innovations like Google and eBay to inventions like the artificial heart, the telephone, even the blue jeans; to beloved patriotic songs like "God Bless America" like national landmarks like the Brooklyn Bridge and the White House - both of which were designed by architects who were immigrants," she said amidst applause from the audience.
Being the First Lady, she said that she had the privilege of travelling around the world and visiting dozens of different countries.
"I have seen how leaders who rule by intimidation - leaders who demonise and dehumanise entire groups of people - often do so because they have nothing else to offer. And I have seen how places that stifle the voices and dismiss the potential of their citizens are diminished; how they are less vital, less hopeful, less free.
"That is not who Americans are. That is not what this country stands for. No, here in America, we do not let our differences tear us apart. Not here. Because we know that our greatness comes when we appreciate each other's strengths, when we learn from each other, when we lean on each other.
Because in this country, it is never been each person for themselves. No, we are all in this together. We always have been," Michelle said.
Without mentioning the rhetoric coming from certain political quarters, Michelle said some folks out there today seem to have a very different perspective.
"They seem to view our diversity as a threat to be contained rather than as a resource to be tapped. They tell us to be afraid of those who are different, to be suspicious of those with whom we disagree.
"They act as if name-calling is an acceptable substitute for thoughtful debate, as if anger and intolerance should be our default state rather than the optimism and openness that have always been the engine of our progress," Michelle added.