Melania Trump offered her condolences to the thousands of Americans who have lost a loved one to coronavirus this year during a keynote address on the second night of the Republican convention.
The first lady gave the address from the White House Rose Garden on Tuesday (25 August) in front of a huge crowd, with almost no one in attendance wearing a mask.
What did Melania Trump say?
During her speech, Mrs Trump acknowledged the significant death toll from the ongoing pandemic and offered her condolences to the families of more than 178,000 Americans who have died from the virus.
Despite widespread criticism of the President’s response to handling the pandemic, the first lady argued her husband’s administration is the country’s best hope of overcoming the ongoing health crisis.
She said: “I know many people are anxious and some feel helpless. I want you to know, you are not alone.
“My husband’s administration will not stop fighting until there is an effective treatment for a vaccine available to everyone.
“Donald will not rest until he has done all he can to take care of everyone impacted in this pandemic.”
Her reflections on the devastating effects of the virus marked a stark contrast to some of the other speeches during the evening, in which the pandemic was largely overlooked.
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow even referred to the ongoing health crisis using the past tense when he spoke.
What were her comments on racism?
As well as assuring the Trump administration will continue to fight for an effective treatment against coronavirus if re-elected, the first lady also reflected on the national unrest over racial injustice and policing which has plagued the country this year.
Mrs Trump sought to soften her husband’s appeal and attempted to offer assurance that he is a leader committed to improving race relations and effecting change around race and religion in the country.
However, some of her statements were misleading, including her claim that Trump is the first president to speak about the importance of religious freedom at the United Nations. In fact, several presidents have done so before him, including Barack Obama.
Addressing the topic of race, she said: “Like all of you, I have reflected on the racial unrest in our country.
“It’s a harsh reality that we are not proud of parts of our history. I encourage people to focus on our future while still learning from our past.
“My husband’s administration has worked to try and effect change around race and religion in this country.”
Her speech marked a stark contrast to the somewhat dark vision depicted by Republicans on the first night of the convention, in which they sought to claim the American dream would be destroyed under Democratic rule.
In her efforts to make the case for Trump’s re-election, the first lady acknowledged that her husband is not a “traditional politician” and assured that he is an authentic person “who wants nothing more than for this country to prosper”.