Melania Trump's RNC Speech Has Everyone Talking

Melania Trump has rarely been seen or heard from since the Republican National Convention that made her husband the party's nominee for president in 2016. On the eve of tonight's speech, The Washington Post said that her performance at the 2020 Republican National Convention would present a chance for her to reset the public's perception of her from that fateful night in 2016, when she was accused of plagiarizing Michelle Obama's words. And even before she stepped up to the podium at the Rose Garden on the second night of the RNC, analysts like Princeton University's political scientist Lauren A. Wright said, "I do think the speech is consequential. She doesn't make very many public appearances, especially ones where she gives extended remarks, and so the instances in which she does do that are disproportionately important."

Unlike her last appearance at the RNC — and as promised — the first lady's speech struck a different tone this year. 

Melania Trump took a swipe at the Democratic National Convention

As The Guardian points out, the first lady's address was personal. She began by offering her sympathies to those affected by the coronavirus pandemic which has killed 178,000 so far. "I want to acknowledge the fact that since March, our lives have changed drastically. My deepest sympathy goes out to everyone who has lost a loved one and my prayers are with those who are ill or suffering," she said. From there, she recounted her story of growing up in what was then communist Slovenia, and her dreams of moving to America. She also called out the fact that her husband was not a "traditional" politician, but one who "demands actions and he gets results." She expressed her admiration for her husband, of whom she said, "Donald is a husband who supports me in all that I do...", and "Whether you like it or not, you always know what he's thinking."

She also took a jab at Michelle Obama for the comments she made at the Democratic National Convention's opening night. "As you have heard this evening, I don't want to use this precious time attacking the other side," Trump said (via CNN). "Because as we saw last week, that kind of talk only serves to divide the country further. I'm here because we need my husband to be our president and commander in chief for four more years. He is what is best for our country."

Melania Trump had supporters and detractors after her RNC speech

Support for the first lady's speech was led by New York Times correspondent Maggie Haberman who said via live chat, "I suspect Melania Trump will stand out as one of the highlights of the convention. It's not that she didn't hit the media — she did — and not that she didn't suggest her husband is better than his media coverage suggests. But she managed to acknowledge there's a whole country out there that is experiencing a lot of pain, and that it isn't just about how the president perceives things."

Others took to Twitter to talk about Melania's address. One supporter tweeted, "Michelle Obama: Taped speech complaining about America. Melania Trump: 25 minutes, live, professing love for the country and her husband. See you in November." Another seemed to express some surprise at the outcome, writing, "Very interesting that the two most difficult and complex speeches, content-wise, were given by Tiffany Trump (who had the best speech of the evening, in my view) and Melania Trump." 

But of course, where there are supporters there are detractors, and the first lady couldn't live down 2016 entirely. Plenty of Twitter users took to the platform to say, in one form or another, "Not watching Melania's speech tonight because I already watched it last week when Michelle gave it first." It's hard to escape the past...