Melania Trump is making this speech in a live audience that features the President, with Vice-President Mike Pence, Pence’s wife, and others who have helped with Melania’s “Be Best” initiative, which advocates against cyber bullying and drug use.
The first lady emerges, and there’s wide applause from the crowd (which is not observing social distacing guidelines or wearing masks).
She acknowledges COVID-19 from the outset.
“I want to acknowledge the fact that since March our lives have changed drastically. The invisible enemy swept across our beautiful country and it affects all of us,” she says.
“My deepest sympathies 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. My husband’s administration will not stop fighting until there is an effective treatment or vaccine available to everyone.”
Melania rarely speaks publicly, and this is meant to be one of the longest speeches she’s given. It’s full of optimism and anecdotes, with recognition of the women’s sufferage movement; gratitude to her Slovenian parents; and tales of the Americans she’s met since become the First Lady.
With the President behind in some polls, campaign strategists hope this speech will help Trump win back some of the women voters he appears to have lost over the last four years.
She also says she’s reflected on the racial unrest in America, noting that “it is a harsh reality that we are not proud of parts of history. I encourage people to focus on our future, while still learning from our past.”
The First Lady also urges the media to use its platform to help the nation combat drug addiction – an issue she is clearly passionate about – and urges parents to talk to their children about the issue.
“When the stigma is removed, people will no longer be ashamed to ask for help,” she says.
And then a message for the mothers of America: “To mothers, and parents everywhere, you are warriors,” she says. “In my husband, you have a president who will not stop fighting for you and your families.”
As for Trump’s tweets and outspoken manner? He’s authentic, she says, and “total honesty is what we as citizens deserve from our President.”
“Whether you like it or not, you always know what he’s thinking, and that is because he’s an authentic person who loves this country and its people, and wants to continue to make it better,” she says.
It’s a good speech that seems to hit the right notes, and deliberately avoided attacking the other side.
Afterwards, the First Lady recieves a standing ovation from the audience and a kiss from the president, before they leave the Rose Garden and retreat inside.