- Monica Crowley said that a Michelle Obama presidential bid would put the GOP in “a very difficult position.”
- The former Treasury spokesperson made the comments during the 2022 CPAC conference in Florida.
- While Obama’s name is often floated as a candidate, she has expressed little desire to run for office.
The conservative commentator Monica Crowley, a former Trump administration aide, on Saturday said that a presidential run by former first lady Michelle Obama would put Republicans in “a very difficult position.”
“If they [Democrats] were to run Michelle Obama, that would put us in a very difficult position because they’d reach for a candidate who is completely plausible, very popular, and immune to criticism,” she said. “Also, when you think about her positioning, she spoke as a DNC [Democratic National Convention] keynote speaker in 2020, she wrote her autobiography and did a 50-city tour, she has massive Netflix and Spotify deals, and she’s got a voting-rights group alongside Stacey Abrams.”
Crowley made the remarks during a panel discussion at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Florida featuring her alongside Republican Rep. Ronny Jackson of Texas, conservative activist Jack Posobiec, and attorney Kurt Schlichter. She also spoke of the complications that Democrats might face in 2024 if President Joe Biden chooses not to run for reelection. (He has so far committed to running for a second term.)
Pointing to Vice President Kamala Harris and some of her first-year stumbles in office, Crowley argued that Democrats nonetheless would be hard-pressed to deny her a presidential nomination for fear of alienating Black women, who have been the most loyal segment of the party for years.
Crowley, who served as an assistant secretary for public affairs for ex-Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, then said that Democrats might seek another scenario that would thrill the party − the candidacy of former first lady Michelle Obama.
Obama, who was the first lady while her husband — former President Barack Obama – served president from 2009 to 2017, has long expressed her distaste for politics. She has also enjoyed moderate to high favorability among the general public in various polls.
But, the former first lady has continually stated that she does not foresee her name being on a presidential ballot. Many Democrats, though, cannot help but envision her running for a White House bid given her status as a highly-regarded first lady with universal name recognition and an appeal that can cut across demographic and political lines.
Although conservatives are eager to regain the White House after former President Donald Trump’s 2020 presidential loss, Crowley, during the forum, refused to underestimate Obama’s potential appeal as a candidate.
“For all of these people who say, ‘Michelle Obama isn’t political’ [and] ‘They’re making too much money now,’ keep a very close eye on her because her trajectory is exactly what Barack Obama did before he ran for president and what Bill and Hillary Clinton both did,” she said. “I think if she were to run, that would be a very difficult situation for us.”
The former first lady has never held elective office, but some of her major speeches — beginning at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver to her deeply personal video at the DNC in support of Biden during the 2020 presidential race — have been praised by many voters from across the political spectrum.
However, during the 2018 Simmons Leadership Conference in Boston, she threw cold water on the idea of a presidential run, as she has often done when asked since leaving the White House.
“The reason why I don’t want to run for president — and I can’t speak for Oprah [Winfrey] — but my sense is that, first of all, you have to want the job,” she said at the time, referencing calls for media mogul to run for office.
She continued: “And you can’t just say, ‘Well, you’re a woman, run.’ We just can’t find the women we like and ask them to do it, because there are millions of women who are inclined and do have the passion for politics.”