'Fighting for you': First lady makes her case for Trump vote

RNC night 2 soars on authenticity, redemption, love of US

SKY News
August 26, 2020 - 4:29 am
U.S. first lady Melania Trump addresses the Republican National Convention from the Rose Garden at the White House on August 25, 2020 in Washington, DC.

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WASHINGTON (AP) — First lady Melania Trump portrayed her husband as an authentic, uncompromising leader in a Rose Garden address as President Donald Trump turned to family, farmers and the trappings of the presidency to boost his reelection chances on the second night of the scaled-down Republican National Convention.

Mrs. Trump offered a polished portrait of Trump's presidency Tuesday night, showing a more forgiving side of a combative president who will soon face the voters.

Beyond the first lady's remarks, Trump pardoned a reformed felon and oversaw a naturalization ceremony for several immigrants in the midst of the program.

“In my husband, you have a president who will not stop fighting for you and your families,” said Mrs. Trump, an immigrant herself. “He will not give up.”

Mrs. Trump and two of the president's five children led a diverse collection of supporters, including a convicted bank robber, calling for Trump’s reelection on a night that featured a distinctly positive tone.

In a particularly emotional moment, Trump showed a video of himself signing a pardon for Jon Ponder, a man from Nevada who has founded an organization that helps prisoners reintegrate into society.

“We live in a nation of second chances,” Ponder said, standing alongside Trump.

“Jon’s life is a beautiful testament to the power of redemption,” Trump said before he signed the pardon.

The lineup also had a Maine lobsterman, a Wisconsin farmer and a Native American leader. Social conservatives were represented by an anti-abortion activist and Billy Graham’s granddaughter. The convention also featured the Kentucky high school student, Nicholas Sandman, whose interaction last year with Native Americans became a flashpoint in the nation’s culture wars.

There were fierce attacks on Biden throughout the night, although the lineup generally maintained a positive tone -- in part due to some last-minute changes.

Mary Ann Mendoza, an Arizona woman whose son, a police officer, was killed in 2014 in a car accident involving an immigrant in the country illegally, was pulled from the program minutes before the event began. She had directed her Twitter followers to a series of anti-Semitic, conspiratorial messages.

There were also barrier breakers featured like Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, the first African American to hold statewide office in Kentucky, and Florida Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nunez, first Latina to hold that office in her state.

And the convention featured a Democrat for the second night: Robert Vlaisavljevich, the mayor of Eveleth, Minnesota, who praised Trump’s support for his state’s mining industry in particular.

“President Trump is fighting for all of us. He delivered the best economy in our history and he will do it again,” Vlaisavljevich said.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addressed the convention and nation during an official overseas trip in Israel. 

“President Trump has put his America First vision into action," Pompeo said. "It may not have made him popular in every foreign capital, but it’s worked.”

Praising recent Israel-U.A.E. agreement announced by Trump, Pompeo added, "The way each of us can best ensure our freedoms is by electing leaders who don’t just talk, but who deliver."

Pompeo's taped appearance broke with decades of tradition of secretaries of state avoiding the appearance of involving themselves in domestic politics. 

Still Mrs. Trump was the intended star of the night.

Only the second foreign-born first lady in U.S. history, Mrs. Trump, 50, is a native of Slovenia, a former communist country in eastern Europe. She became Trump's third wife in 2005 and gave birth to their now 14-year-old son, Barron, in 2006 — the year she became a naturalized U.S. citizen.

The first lady spoke from the renovated Rose Garden, addressing an in-person group of around 50 people, including her husband.

“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,” Mrs. Trump said. “He wants nothing more than for this country to prosper and he doesn’t waste time playing politics.”

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Peoples reported from New York. Price reported from Las Vegas. AP writers Kevin Freking and Zeke Miller in Washington and Dave Bauder in New York contributed.

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