How Melania Trump's RNC Speech Tries & Fails To Make Donald Trump Seem Like A Nice Guy
By the sound of her much-anticipated RNC speech, Melania Trump is going to become an indispensable player in her husband's increasingly heated campaign. Twice throughout her speech, she made certain to "assure" the nation that Donald Trump is the man for the job, highlighting his kindness, compassion, and fairness. If Trump hadn't made a lengthy series of missteps, however, that reassurance wouldn't be so necessary. The strategic move on behalf of the campaign suggests Melania will play a key role in the attempt to convince uncertain voters that Trump's harsh rhetoric from the past is no cause for concern. Her complimentary words, spoken with great confidence, were elegant and captivating, but that doesn't make them believable.
Melania began her speech by likening herself to Trump, impressing a softer image unto him. Immediately after comparing her patriotism to his own, she detailed her worldly perspective, deep appreciation for America, and prioritization of morals and values.
I have been with Donald for 18 years and I have been aware of his love for this country since we first met. He never had a hidden agenda when it comes to his patriotism, because, like me, he loves this country so much.
Melania's story of her upbringing in the formerly communist country of Slovenia, work in the fashion industry, and eventual immigration to the U.S. is both touching and impressive. Like Trump, Melania is certainly successful in business, but attributing her personal experience to that of her husband seems unnatural. In many ways, Trump has insulted the very diversity and understanding his wife helps to represent.
From suggesting a ban on Muslims to insisting the U.S. deport all illegal immigrants and build a wall between it and Mexico, it's become painfully clear that Trump is either racist or has appealed to racist ideology more than once. As John Oliver put it after Trump failed to denounce an endorsement from notorious white supremacist David Duke, "You are either racist or you are pretending to be, and at some point, there is no difference there.” Still, Melania did her best to convince the nation that Trump isn't so careless with his rhetoric.
Donald intends to represent all the people, not just some of the people. That includes Christians and Jews and Muslims, it includes Hispanics and African-Americans and Asians, and the poor and the middle class. Throughout his career, Donald has successfully worked with people of many faiths and with many nations.
Though Trump's children suggest he is kind and caring towards his own family, the presumptive GOP nominee has yet to prove he'll treat everyone that way. So far, nearly every minority has reason to believe Trump won't stand up for them if he's elected to office. Even establishment Republican politicians have a difficult time standing behind the businessman's values, despite what Melania has to say about them.
As citizens of this great nation, it is kindness, love and compassion for each other that will bring us together — and keep us together. These are the values Donald and I will bring to the White House.
During a town hall meeting, for example, House Speaker Paul Ryan's explanation for endorsing Trump came down to one simple fact that has nothing to do with Trump's character: he's not Hillary Clinton. Ultimately, that's a grim conclusion for both the GOP and Trump, demonstrating just how important Melania's perspective is to the increasingly vulnerable campaign. Her involvement during the general election could catalyze a shift away from exclusion and offense towards acceptance and sensitivity.
If Trump wants to win over the hearts of both Americans and GOP politicians, turning a new, more professional leaf might be his best bet. Whereas Trump's daughter Ivanka spearheaded the initial efforts to make her father seem more "presidential," Melania is showing that she's capable of becoming a potentially powerful first lady. Until Trump lives up to her characterization of him and proves to the nation that he respects people of all backgrounds, however, her words will remain difficult to believe.