WASHINGTON • First Lady Melania Trump offered sympathy for victims of the coronavirus pandemic and a plea for racial understanding in a Republican convention speech aimed directly at the women voters who have abandoned US President Donald Trump.
On the convention’s second day, the speech’s warm tone was out of step with a Republican gathering that featured harsh rhetoric about Democratic challenger Joe Biden and sometimes apocalyptic warnings about the dangers of Democratic governance.
Mrs Trump acknowledged the pain of the pandemic in sharp contrast to most other speakers at the party’s national convention, notably her husband, assailed by Democrats for his lack of solace during a US health crisis that has killed more than 178,000 people.
“I want to acknowledge the fact that since March, our lives have changed drastically,” she told a crowd seated in the White House Rose Garden, the President in the front row.
“My deepest sympathy goes out to everyone who has lost a loved one. And my prayers are with those who are ill or suffering. I know many people are anxious and some feel helpless. I want you to know: You’re not alone.”
With opinion polls showing Mr Trump shedding support among college-educated women turned off by his combative style, Mrs Trump and other women featured on Tuesday appeared to be trying to sway the critical voting bloc ahead of the Nov 3 presidential election.
The United States’ First Lady reflected on the racial unrest that has swept the country in the months since the death in May of a black man, Mr George Floyd, under the knee of a white policeman in Minnesota. Protests flared anew this week after another black man was shot and left paralysed by police in Wisconsin.
“I urge people to come together in a civil manner so we can work and live up to our standard American ideals,” she said. “I also ask people to stop the violence and looting being done in the name of justice and never make assumptions based on the colour of a person’s skin.”
Her remarks were criticised by Democrats who questioned the propriety of using the presidential residence for political purposes.Mr Trump will deliver his convention speech from the White House lawn today.
My deepest sympathy goes out to everyone who has lost a loved one… And my prayers are with those who are ill or suffering. I know many people are anxious and some feel helpless. I want you to know: You’re not alone.
US FIRST LADY MELANIA TRUMP, acknowledging the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on Amernican lives. It was a contrast to most other speakers at the party’s national convention.