“Ladies and gentlemen, it is my great honor to present the next First Lady of the United States, my wife, an amazing mother, and an incredible woman, Melania Trump. Thank you very much,” Trump said after making his rock-star entrance while Queen’s “We Are the Champions” played in the hall. That was the entirety of his speech, which he delivered in under two minutes – a Donald Trump first in his presidential campaign.
Then his wife gave what CNN contributor Van Jones called a “cream puff speech,” nearly 15 minutes long, telling Americans few intimate details about herself and even fewer about her husband. It was impressive in its length — her previous longest speech of the campaign having run 90 seconds, according to press reports. Melania got high marks from TV pundits for her poise, less for her success in personalizing her husband, though some of those political navel lint gazers were using as their bar Ann Romney’s very intimate, revealing speech about husband Mitt during the 2012 RNC.
“I was born in Slovenia, a small, beautiful and then-communist country in Central Europe,” Melania began. “My sister and I were raised by my wonderful parents. My elegant and hard-working mother introduced me to fashion and beauty; my father instilled in me a passion for business,” said the former model.
Their influence “reflects to this day in me and my love of family and America.”
“From a young age my parents impressed on me the values that you work hard for what you want in life, that your word is your bond and you do what you say and keep your promise, that you treat people with respect. They showed me values in their daily life. That is a lesson I continue to pass along to our son and we need to pass those lessons on to the many generations to follow.
“I am fortunate of my heritage, but also for where it brought me today. I traveled the world while working in the incredible world of fashion,” she said, explaining that after Milan and Paris, she arrived in New York 20 years ago, where she saw the “joys and hardships” of life.
In 2006, “I was very proud to become a citizen of the United States, the greatest privilege on the planet Earth.
“I cannot take the freedoms for granted, but these freedoms have come with a price so many times,” she said, pivoting to a nod to veterans and an introduction of Bob Dole in the audience. Dole is one of few previous GOP POTUS candidates in the hall; Mitt Romney, John McCain, John Kasich, Lindsey Graham and the entire Bush family are among those giving it a pass.
“I can tell you with certainty that my husband has been concerned with our country for as long as I have known him,” Melania insisted. “With all my heart I know he will make America great. Donald has great and deep determination and a never-give-up attitude. I have seen him fight for years to get a project done, or even started, and he does not give up.
“If you want someone to fight for you and your country, I can assure you he’s the guy.”
She noted the 2016 Republican primaries were “fierce” and had many candidates. Melania said she was sure her husband would not mind that she mention “how talented all of them are.”
“They deserve the respect and gratitude of us all,” she said of Lyin’ Ted Cruz, Little Marco Rubio, Low Energy Jeb Bush — as her husband called them — and the other failed candidates.
“However, when it comes to my husband, I will say that I’m definitely biased, and for a good reason,” Melania said. “I have been with Donald for 18 years and been aware of his love for this country since we first met.”
Walking up to his speech, TV news pundits noted how unusual it was to hear from the presumptive nominee on a convention’s first night. They forecast he would give another introduction like the one he gave to Mike Pence when the Indiana governor was officially unveiled as his running mate last Saturday. On that occasion, Trump spoke nearly 28 minutes about himself and his campaign, before turning to the subject of Pence. Add tonight’s forecast to the very long list of times pundits bet wrong on Trump.