Melania Trump delivered a blistering campaign speech in support of her husband on Tuesday, attacking Democrats for impeaching him, Joe Biden for criticizing him, and the media for focusing on ‘idle gossip and palace intrigue.’
In her first solo campaign stop of the year, the first lady didn’t hold back in a fiery address that made the case for voters to give President Donald Trump a second term, slamming his rival as a ‘socialist’ who would ‘destroy America.’
She described her husband as a ‘fighter’ and tried to turn one of his biggest areas of criticism into a strength: his steady stream of tweets.
‘Donald is a fighter. He loves this country and he fights for you every single day. For the first time in history, the citizens of this country get to hear directly and instantly from their President every single day through social media,’ she said.
The first lady was in Pennsylvania, a critical battleground state that her husband needs in his corner come Election Day.
Melania Trump also addressed questions she has faced about how her Be Best initiative combats online bullying but her husband frequently goes on the attack via his Twitter account, which has 87.3 million followers.
‘I don’t always agree the way he says things, but it is important to him that he speaks directly to the people he serves,’ she said.
The crowd of 300 laughed. Most of the supporters wore face masks but there was little socially distancing.
She began her remarks thanking people for their support when she, the president and their 14-year-old son Barron battled the coronavirus.
‘Thank you for all the love and support you gave us when our family was diagnosed with COVID-19. We are all feeling so much better now thanks to healthy living and some of the amazing therapeutic options available in our country – thank you again for your well wishes,’ she said.
Melania Trump attacked her husband’s Democratic rival Joe Biden as a ‘socialist’ whose agenda would ‘destroy America’
Melania Trump also attacked Democrats and the media in her remarks
The first lady came out swinging against Joe Biden in her first solo campaign event of the year
She attacked Democrats for impeaching her husband, echoing one of his campaign arguments with a claim they were impeaching President Trump while he battled the coronavirus.
‘Let us also not forget what the democrats chose to focus on when COVID-19 first came into our country. While the President was taking decisive actions to keep the American people safe, the democrats were wasting American tax-payer dollars in a sham impeachment,’ she said.
‘They cared more about removing our elected president. Meanwhile, I watched Donald continue to work hard to keep people informed and calm, to protect our economy, and make hard and unpopular decisions to do all he could to keep us all safe,’ she added.
She called out the president’s Democratic presidential rival, Joe Biden, by name and attacked his long record in public life.
‘Joe Biden attacked President Trump’s decision to put the American people first and closing travel from China. He called it “Xenophobic hysteria”. Now he suggests that he could have done a better job. Well, the American people can look at Joe Biden’s 36 years in congress and eight years in the Vice Presidency and determine whether they think he’ll finally be able to get something done for the American people’ she said.
Her speech had echoes of the president’s campaign arguments but with a softer touch. For example, while she attacked Biden’s long record of public service, she didn’t go as far as calling him a ‘corrupt politician,’ which President Trump has done. But she did call him a ‘socialist,’ which the president has accused him of.
‘Joe Biden’s policies and socialist agenda will only serve to destroy America and all that has been built in the past four years. We must keep Donald in the White House so he can finish what he’s started and our country can continue to flourish,’ she said.
And while she didn’t call out the ‘fake news’ as the president likes to call them, she did attack the media for its coverage, saying there was too much of a focus on ‘gossip.’
‘When he decided to run for president as a Republican, the media created a different picture of my husband— one I didn’t recognize— and treated all his supporters with equal disdain. The media has chosen to focus on stories of idle gossip and palace intrigue by editorializing real events and policies with their own bias and agendas,’ she said.
The first lady slammed the media last month when it reported on a book her former best friend and adviser in the East Wing Stephanie Winston Wilkoff wrote, which painted an unflattering picture of Melania Trump. Winston Wilkoff also played recorded conversations she made of the first lady, which featured Melania Trump making disparaging remarks about Christmas and immigrant children separated from the families at the border.
‘What drives the news are the handpicked, angry, and often baseless claims from anonymous sources or angry ex-employees who are only trying to distract from the important work happening inside the White House,’ she said.
She said Tuesday she wished the media would focus on her Be Best initiative when it came to her. The first lady rarely gives interviews or answers questions from the press.
‘For instance, my initiative, BE BEST, has one main goal – helping children. Yet the media have chosen to take the attention away from children and focus on only the negative,’ she said.
Former White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway introduced the first lady and told the crowd in Pennsylvania they would see the president again this weekend
She also directed her remarks to women, a voting bloc President Trump needs in his corner.
‘As a mother, I am grateful for a President who believes in strong families. As an independent woman, I am grateful for a President who has championed not only women, but working mothers, by promoting and supporting their roles in the workforce. As an American, I am proud that we have a President who puts our country first,’ she said.
She ended her remarks with a plea for people to vote. The first lady will vote in Florida on Election Day near the Trumps’ Mar-a-Lago home.
‘If you haven’t already voted, please be sure to get out and vote on November 3 – and encourage everyone you know to do the same,’ she said.
She hitched a ride to Joint Base Andrews with her husband on Marine One. The president had his own set of campaign rallies on Tuesday, starting off Michigan.
‘Looking forward to visiting the beautiful state of Pennsylvania today. The people of that great state know President @realdonaldtrump will always fight to keep Americans safe, secure, & prosperous,’ she wrote on Twitter ahead of her visit.
Her visit comes the day after President Trump held three rallies in Pennsylvania on Monday. Trump became the first Republican in more than 20 years to win the state when he carried it by less than one point in 2016.
Pennsylvania is a must-win state for the president. Democratic nominee Joe Biden leads Trump there by 4.5 points, according to the RealClearPolitics polling average of the state.
Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s former adviser who managed his 2016 campaign, moderated Tuesday’s event with the first lady.
On her way: Melania Trump left the White House on Marine One with her husband Donald Trump before they caught separate planes at Joint Base Andrews – he to Michigan, she to Pennsylvania
White House send-off: Donald Trump applauded White House staffers who had turned out to cheer his and Melania’s departure
Wave from the First Lady: Melania Trump acknowledged the aides and guests at the White House as she headed for Marine One
Picture time: The First Lady and the president thanks aides and staff-and some of their children – for coming to the South Lawn
Thanks for coming: Melania and Donald Trump were acknowledged by mask-wearing guests at the White House where COVID safety is now being enforced
On the road for her husband: Melania Trump has not campaigned solo for Donald Trump since last year. Her planned appearance on the campaign trail was canceled earlier this month because she was still suffering the effects of COVID
Supporters: Young well-wishers were at the front of the crowd gathered to see off Melania Trump from the White House
Ready for anything: An aide carried a Louis Vuitton bag on board Marine One to accompany the First Lady to Pennsylvania
Boarding now: Melania Trump accompanied her husband to the steps of Air Force One (right) before boarding her own Air Force jet to Pennsylvania
Ready for Melania: People got in line for the event with the First Lady in Altglen, PA, long before her scheduled arrival
Melania Trump was scheduled to accompany President Trump to a campaign rally in Erie, Pennsylvania, last week but canceled hours before she was scheduled to leave, citing a linger cough from her battle with the coronavirus.
Both campaigns are fighting hard for the state’s 20 electoral votes. Joe and Jill Biden held an event with Bon Jovi on Saturday in the state and former President Barack Obama made his first campaign appearance for Biden in Philadelphia last week. Joe Biden also made a pop-up appearance at voter center in Chesterfield on Monday.
Melania Trump made her final campaign appearance of 2016 in Pennsylvania at a solo event in Berwyn, just outside Philadelphia.
She is scheduled to cast her ballot in person in Florida on Election Day. President Trump voted early on Saturday near their Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach.
This cycle Melania Trump has had a limited campaign schedule. The adult children of the president – Ivanka, Don Jr and Eric – have conducted multiple campaign events.
The first lady spoke on the second night of the Republican National Convention from the White House Rose Garden but that was her last public campaign event. And she was at President Trump’s re-election launch in Florida in June 2019.
She was scheduled to host fundraisers for the president’s campaign in Florida and California in April but those were canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
She was diagnosed with COVID-19 as the same time as the president, but recovered in the White House residence, using rest and vitamins.
She made her first post-COVID appearance at the final presidential debate in Nashville.
Unlike the president, Melania Trump didn’t check into the hospital after her diagnosis with COVID. She said she had minimal symptoms but admitted it hit her like a ‘roller coaster.’
On the way: Marine One takes off with the president and First Lady on board
Fall in line: Trump supporters queued up amid the golden colors of fall to attend Melania Trump’s first solo campaign event of the year
Safety precautions: Supporters going to the Atglen event with Melania Trump had their temperatures taken before being allowed to get into the event venue
Standing out from the crowd: Barry Edwards was ready and waiting for Melania Trump in Altglen, PA
Former White House adviser Kellyanne Conway will moderate Melania Trump’s campaign event in Pennsylvania on Tuesday
Melania Trump made her final campaign appearance of 2016 in Pennsylvania at a solo event in Berwyn, just outside Philadelphia
Melania Trump with President Donald Trump, Amy Coney Barrett and Jesse Barrett, at the White House Monday night after Coney Barrett was sworn in as a Supreme Court justice
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump on Sunday night at the White House for a Halloween celebration
She also said she treated herself with a ‘natural route’ – opting for vitamins and healthy food – indicating she did not take a heavy course of medication as the president did for his illness.
‘I was very fortunate as my diagnosis came with minimal symptoms, though they hit me all at once and it seemed to be a roller coaster of symptoms in the days after. I experienced body aches, a cough and headaches, and felt extremely tired most of the time. I chose to go a more natural route in terms of medicine, opting more for vitamins and healthy food,’ Melania wrote in an essay published on the White House’s website.