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“Strong men don’t need to put down women”: Michelle Obama slams Trump in impassioned speech

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Lucy Devine
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Michelle Obama has denounced Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump, in an impassioned speech.

Addressing an audience in New Hampshire at a rally for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, the First Lady condemned Trump as a "powerful individual speaking freely and openly about sexually predatory behaviour.”

Obama castigated his "locker room banter" defence and said that his candidacy had "shaken me to my core".

Donald Trump

Donald Trump at the US Presidential Debate

The speech comes in the same week Trump’s campaign has been rocked by a slew of shocking claims, including a tape in which Trump boasts his fame allowed him to "grab women by the pussy".

Footage has also emerged of a 46-year-old Trump (he is now 70) speaking to a girl believed to be around 10 years old before announcing to the camera: "I'm going to be dating her in 10 years. Can you believe it?"

With less than four weeks until the US elections, multiple claims of the candidate's inappropriate sexual behaviour have surfaced one by one.

In her speech, Obama told the audience: “I have to tell you that I can't stop thinking about this."

Rally

The First Lady spoke at a rally in Manchester, New Hampshire

"It has shaken me to my core in a way that I couldn't have predicted. So while I'd love nothing more than to pretend like this isn't happening, and to come out here and do my normal campaign speech, it would be dishonest and disingenuous to me to just move on to the next thing like this was all just a bad dream.

"This is not something that we can ignore. It's not something we can just sweep under the rug as just another disturbing footnote in a sad election season. Because this was not just a 'lewd conversation'."

She continued: "Let's be very clear: strong men, strong men, men who are truly role models, don't need to put down women to make themselves feel powerful."

Michelle Obama

"Strong men don't need to put down women to make themselves feel powerful."

Speaking about Trump's recurrent accusations, Obama said: "To make matters worse, it now seems very clear that this isn't an isolated incident. It's one of countless examples of how he has treated women his whole life. And I have to tell you that I listen to all of this and I feel it so personally, and I'm sure that many of you do too, particularly the women. The shameful comments about our bodies.

"The disrespect of our ambitions and intellect. The belief that you can do anything you want to a woman. It is cruel. It's frightening. And the truth is, it hurts."

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton at the US Presidential Debate

At one point during the speech and with heightened emotions, Obama perfectly consolidated how Trump's behaviour easily resonates with so many women:

"It's that feeling of terror and violation that too many women have felt when someone has grabbed them, or forced himself on them and they've said no but he didn't listen — something that we know happens on college campuses and countless other places every single day."

The rally was Obama's sixth campaign for Clinton, who following the speech tweeted her support.

It was close to the beginning of Obama's speech that she seemed to tap into the one probing concern that seems to cascade through every single accusation:

"I can't believe I'm saying that a candidate for President of the United States has bragged about sexually assaulting women."

Watch the full speech below: