First lady Melania Trump convention speech

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First lady Melania Trump offered sympathy for victims of the coronavirus pandemic and a plea for racial understanding in a Republican convention speech on Tuesday aimed directly at the women voters who have abandoned U.S. President Donald Trump.

Trump’s wife acknowledged the pain of the pandemic in sharp contrast to most other speakers at the party’s national convention, notably her husband, assailed by Democrats for his lack of solace during a U.S. health crisis that has killed more than 178,000 people.

“I want to acknowledge the fact that since March, our lives have changed drastically,” Melania Trump told a crowd seated in the White House Rose Garden, the president in the front row. “My deepest sympathy goes out to everyone who has lost a loved one.”

“And my prayers are with those who are ill or suffering. I know many people are anxious and some feel helpless. I want you to know: You’re not alone.”

With opinion polls showing Trump shedding support among college-educated women turned off by his combative style, Melania Trump and other women featured on Tuesday appeared to be trying to sway the critical voting bloc ahead of the Nov. 3 presidential election.

The first lady reflected on the racial unrest that has swept the country in the months since the death in May of  George Floyd, under the knee of a white policeman in Minnesota. Protests flared anew this week after a Black man was shot and left paralysed by police in Wisconsin.

“I urge people to come together in a civil manner so we can work and live up to our standard American ideals,” she said. “I also ask people to stop the violence and looting being done in the name of justice and never make assumptions based on the colour of a person’s skin.”

“Our economic choice is very clear. Do you want economic health, prosperity, opportunity and optimism, or do you want to turn back to the dark days of stagnation, recession and pessimism?” White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said.

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