BERWYN, Pa. (AP) — Donald Trump‘s wife, Melania, made a rare appearance on the campaign trail on Thursday, pledging to focus on combatting online bullying and serve as an advocate for women and children if her husband is elected to the White House.
Her description of the perils of social media seemed at odds with her husband’s divisive and bullying rhetoric throughout the campaign.
“Our culture has gotten too mean and too rough, especially to children and teenagers,” said Mrs. Trump, delivering a get-out-the-vote speech in the Philadelphia suburbs with less than a week to go before Election Day. “It is never okay when a 12-year-old girl or boy is mocked, bullied or attacked” in the school yard, she argued, but it is “absolutely unacceptable when it is done by someone with no name hiding on the internet. ”
“We have to find a better way to talk to each other, to disagree with each other, to respect each other,” she said.
The highly personal speech, which also touched on conversations with her young son, her marriage and her own experience as an immigrant, appeared aimed at humanizing her husband in front of an audience of suburban women who are critical to Trump’s hopes in Pennsylvania and other key states.
For years, Trump has used his Twitter account to berate and insult his rivals along with reporters, pundits and others who he feels have slighted him. Some educators have even described a so-called “Trump effect” increase in bullying inspired by Trump’s bombastic rhetoric.
Nonetheless, Mrs. Trump told the audience, “We need to teach our youth American values: kindness, honesty, respect, compassion, charity, understanding, cooperation.”
The appearance came as Trump’s rival Hillary Clinton and her allies have tried to paint the Republican nominee as anti-women, a strategy Democrats see as the best hope for rattling him and driving female voters away.
Thursday’s speech at the Main Line Sports Center was Mrs. Trump’s first since she addressed the Republican National Convention in July. That speech was well-received initially, but was quickly overshadowed by the discovery that sections had been plagiarized from first lady Michelle Obama’s address to the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
While Mrs. Trump has given several television interviews and appeared by her husband’s side at events, the former model is more often seen than heard. She explains her frequent absence from the campaign trail by saying her priority is raising the couple’s 10-year-old son, Barron.
In her remarks, Mrs. Trump described her husband as a “fighter,” beholden to no one, who “will never give up.”
“He certainly knows how to shake things up, doesn’t he?” she joked.
She also spent time describing how, growing up in her native Slovenia, “America was the word for freedom and opportunity. America meant: If you could dream it, you could become it.”
Receiving U.S. citizenship after a 10-year process, she said, was “the greatest privilege in the world.”
There were plenty of “Women for Trump” signs in the crowd of several hundred, who repeatedly interrupted Mrs. Trump’s 10-minute speech with cheers and applause. Throughout the audience were the suburban women whose votes Trump hopes to shore up on a path to victory Tuesday.
Kris Goodman, 65, of Berwyn, said she believes Mrs. Trump would be a “great first lady” and an asset to her husband in the White House. Goodman, who has already voted absentee for the Republican nominee, said she was impressed with Trump’s wife at the convention this summer.
“I think both she and (Trump’s daughter) Ivanka are great examples of women of this century,” Goodman said. “What’s in the media, I don’t think portrays his record and how he deals with women.”
In addition to his wife, Trump’s four oldest children have also been campaigning across the country, along with supporters like House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Meanwhile, Clinton’s campaign has deployed her husband, former President Bill Clinton, along with President Barack Obama, Mrs. Obama and a long list of celebrity backers to help her get out the vote.
2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
2 of 30
3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
3 of 30
4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
4 of 30
5. Jus haaaanngin out
5 of 30
6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
6 of 30
7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
7 of 30
8. new new
8 of 30
9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
9 of 30
10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
10 of 30
11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
11 of 30
12 of 30
13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
13 of 30
14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
14 of 30
15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
15 of 30
16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
16 of 30
17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
17 of 30
18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
18 of 30
19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
19 of 30
20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
20 of 30
21 of 30
22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
22 of 30
23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
23 of 30
24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
24 of 30
25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
25 of 30
26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
26 of 30
27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
27 of 30
28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
28 of 30
29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
29 of 30
30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
30 of 30
Continue reading Melania Trump Vows To Take On Cyberbullying As First Lady