Obamas React to Affirmative Action's Gutting

As does Trump, from the opposite point of view
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 30, 2023 2:00 AM CDT
Obamas Weigh In on Affirmative Action Gutting
Michelle Obama launches her new book, "The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times," at Warner Theater in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022.   (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Following the Supreme Court ruling gutting affirmative action at US colleges and universities, Michelle Obama came forward to talk about how the policy affected her when she was an undergraduate student at Princeton University. Affirmative action "wasn't perfect," she wrote in a joint statement issued alongside her husband, but it offered "new ladders of opportunity for those who, throughout our history, have too often been denied a chance to show how fast they can climb." While she recalls sometimes wondering if people might assume affirmative action was the reason she'd been accepted, she says she and her fellow students of color proved they belonged at Princeton as much as anybody else there, Politico reports.

Former President Obama agreed: The policy had its problems, but "it allowed generations of students like Michelle and me to prove we belonged." Added the former first lady, "So often, we just accept that money, power, and privilege are perfectly justifiable forms of affirmative action, while kids growing up like I did are expected to compete when the ground is anything but level. So today, my heart breaks for any young person out there who's wondering what their future holds—and what kinds of chances will be open to them." President Biden also condemned the ruling (and, asked whether the current SCOTUS bench is a rogue court, said it's "not a normal court"). But, perhaps not surprisingly, former President Trump said it marked "a great day for America," ABC News reports.

"This is the ruling everyone was waiting and hoping for and the result was amazing. It will also keep us competitive with the rest of the world," he said in a statement. "Our greatest minds must be cherished and that's what this wonderful day has brought. We're going back to all merit-based—and that's the way it should be!" Fellow 2024 presidential candidate Ron DeSantis, however, used his own response as an opportunity to dig at Trump, the Guardian reports. The Florida governor's campaign team posted a 2015 clip in which Trump said, "I'm fine with affirmative action. We've lived with it for a long time. And I lived with it for a long time. And I've had great relationships with lots of people." (More affirmative action stories.)

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