‘Donald Trump will make a fantastic president’: Melania gives her first big speech since Republican convention

Ms Trump spoke of her idyllic childhood in rural Slovenia, her dream to make it to America, and how her inspiration was Ronald Reagan

Rachael Revesz
New York
Thursday 03 November 2016 19:57 GMT
Ms Trump set out to humanise her husband and paint a picture of ideal family life
Ms Trump set out to humanise her husband and paint a picture of ideal family life (YouTube)

It could have been a fairy tale.

"I grew up in a small town in Slovenia, near a beautiful river and forrest," said Melania Trump, potential first lady of the US.

"It was a beautiful childhood. My parents were wonderful. Of course we all knew about this incredible place called America."

And when she was just 10 years old, who was her inspiration? Former US president Ronald Reagan.

"Even in my small country, it was a true inspiration to me," she said.

It could seem convenient that former president Reagan was such a happy example to Ms Trump, the model and immigrant who dreamt of America from under the grip of Communist rule, as he is the same man her husband mentions frequently and tries to emulate.

The celebrity-turned-politician’s wife was back on the campaign trail, just days before the election, ready to turn around her image after the arguably disastrous speech at the republican National Convention in July, which she ripped off Michelle Obama.

Speaking at a rally in Berwyn, Pennsylvania, Ms Trump said her husband had created a movement which made people feel "included, inspired and involved".

"He will make fantastic president of this United States," she said, painting a picture of an ideal candidate who was "very upset" every time a factory closed, and was "frustrated" as he "watched" parents traveling further and further to work each morning.

"Our love for this country is something we immediately shared when I met Donald," she said,

She did not forget to highlight that despite her immigrant status, she had been through a 10-year process of visas, a green card and a test before becoming a US citizen - the last part gaining her the biggest applause of the speech.

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Ms Trump told ABC News last week that she had been relatively absent from the campaign until now because her priority had been to look after her son, Barron Trump.

When Mr Trump revealed that his wife would be giving two or three more "important speeches", Ms Trump looked surprised and laughed.

"She’s amazing when she speaks," he said. "She’s amazing. And it’s not what she does. And I think it’s going to be big speeches, important speeches."

In Pennsylvania on Thursday, Ms Trump kept her eyes glued to the two teleprompters as she spoke of her wish to tackle cyber bullying of children and teenagers as first lady.

"It is never ok when a 12-year-old girl or boy is bullied on the playground; it is absolutely unacceptable when it is done by somebody hiding with no name on the internet," she said.

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She insisted she would be an "advocate for women and children".

"Do we want a country that respects women and provides equal opportunity? Yes," she said.

In an unprecedented move the Trump campaign released sections of the speech earlier on Thursday. In an email, the campaign said Ms Trump would “speak from the heart” about her husband, his “leadership qualities” and “love and respect” for the US.

No details were given on how long she had prepared for the speech and with how many writers.

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Ms Trump had followed Karen Pence, the wife of Indiana governor and Mr Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence.

The school teacher said she thought Ms Trump was "strong" and that they both agreed it was best to raise children who were independent and did not always agree with their fathers.

"[Melania] she is going to be America’s next great first lady," said Ms Pence. "I know America will fall in love with her just as much as she loves the American people."

Ms Trump’s plagiarized speech at the Republican National Convention, which matched Michelle Obama’s words in 2008 almost paragraph for paragraph, reportedly took six weeks and a team of writers to create.

The campaign issued a statement the next day, penned by staffer Meredith McIver, who claimed responsibility for the gaff and apologised.

Even Mr Trump used his wife to make his biggest joke at the Al Smith dinner in New York, saying the media "bias" was evident as they "loved" Ms Obama’s 2008 speech but did not like his wife’s "exact same speech" eight years later.

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