Trump's wife seeks to soften his image at raucous Republican convention

Updated: 2016-07-19 15:39


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Trump's wife seeks to soften his image at raucous Republican convention

Melania Trump gestures at her husband Republican US presidential candidate Donald Trump as they leave the stage, after she concluded her remarks at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, US July 18, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]

CLEVELAND - Donald Trump's wife Melania, in her first major political speech on Monday, portrayed her husband as a talented, compassionate and unrelenting leader who would unify rather than divide the country if elected to the White House.

The Slovenian-born jewelry designer and former model delivered the speech, part of which strongly resembled an address given by current First Lady Michelle Obama in 2008, to a cheering crowd at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland after a one-minute introduction from Trump.

The presumptive Republican nominee made a dramatic entrance, silhouetted against a white background, to the accompaniment of Queen's 1977 rock anthem, "We Are the Champions."

"I have been with Donald for 18 years and I have been aware of his love for this country since we first met," the aspiring first lady told the convention. "He's tough when he has to be, but he's also kind and fair and caring."

"Donald wants prosperity for all Americans," she said, reading from a teleprompter, as people applauded.

Her roughly 15-minute speech was a bid to soften the image of the New York businessman-turned-politician, who has been accused of bigotry and callousness for his calls to suspend Muslim immigration and deport millions of undocumented immigrants if elected. He has also been criticized for insults directed at women, political opponents and journalists.

Part of the text referring to the values held by her family was strikingly similar to a section of Michelle Obama's speech to the Democratic convention in 2008. A Trump campaign official suggested the similarity was the result of an error by her speech writers.

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