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- When Obama said "Michael and I," he was referring to the son of former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen.
A clip of former President Barack Obama saying "Michael and I" in a speech is circulating on Facebook, stoking the long-debunked claim that Michelle Obama is a man.
"Michael and I also want to acknowledge," Obama says at a lectern before the clip jumps to video of Ineitha Lynnette Hardaway and Herneitha Rochelle Hardaway Richardson, aka former President Donald Trump supporters Diamond and Silk, laughing hysterically. "Trump 2024," reads text at the bottom.
Although the May 20 Facebook reel did not explicitly claim Obama was referring to his wife, viewers responded to the implied claim. "He should have said TRANSGENDER MICHELLE!!!" one wrote. "So it's TRUE! MICHELL OBAMA, IS A MAN!!!" another said.
The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
The video was taken out of context. Obama was not referring to his wife.
This clip was taken from his speech on Sept. 30, 2011, at a "change of office" ceremony for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Obama was addressing the family of the outgoing chairman, U.S. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen. Mullen and his family — his wife, Deborah and his sons Jack and Michael — had been introduced by then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
Panetta said, "I want to extend my deepest thanks to Admiral Mullen’s family: his wife Deborah, his two sons Jack and Michael, who both followed in their father’s footsteps, attending the Naval Academy and now serve with fleet."
In the full speech, Obama said, "Most of all, Admiral Mullen, Deborah, Michael, and I also want to acknowledge your son Jack, who’s deployed today. All of you have performed extraordinary service to our country."
We rate the claim that Obama was referring to his wife Pants on Fire!
Facebook post, May 20, 2023
PolitiFact, Michelle Obama was never a man, Feb. 28, 2023
The White House Office of the Press Secretary, Remarks by the President at the "Change of Office" Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Ceremony, Sept. 30, 2011
The Obama White House YouTube video, President Obama Welcomes New Joint Chief of Staff Chairman, Sept. 30, 2011
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