Melania Trump Gets Chance to 'Rebrand' at Tonight's RNC

First lady has opportunity to offer a 'warmer' picture of president
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 25, 2020 8:11 AM CDT
Updated Aug 25, 2020 8:26 AM CDT
Tonight at RNC Convention, All Eyes Are on Melania
In this Monday file photo, first lady Melania Trump visits an exhibit of artwork by young Americans in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment at the White House in Washington.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Melania Trump is set to take the virtual stage Tuesday night at the Republican National Convention, and a White House aide tells the Washington Post she's been working on her speech for days, with help from former press secretary Stephanie Grisham and Kellyanne Conway, who recently announced she's leaving her post as a senior adviser to the president. The first lady is expected to push her husband's agenda and talk about how she came to America as an immigrant, and campaign strategists are said to be hoping she'll appeal to the suburban women voters that the president needs in his corner. Reuters reports she's also expected to present "an upbeat, warmer view of a president who was repeatedly portrayed at last week's Democratic convention as a force for chaos and darkness." More on her speech, her tenure as first lady, and what else to expect at Tuesday night's convention:

  • A second chance: Trump will be looking to redeem herself with this talk to the American people as she tries to make up for her 2016 convention speech, in which she plagiarized parts of Michelle Obama's 2008 convention speech. "It's a chance to rebrand herself—at least a bit," a Chapman University political science instructor tells the Post. "It's almost as if it's a do-over from 2016, an opportunity to leave a better impression."

  • Looking back: The AP offers a retrospective on Melania's time in the White House, from her "Be Best" initiative and visits to migrant children at the border to her infamous "I really don't care, do U?" jacket.
  • A late-night sneak peek: Thanks to "Melania" showing up on his show Monday night, Stephen Colbert was able to offer a preview of Tuesday's speech. Watch here to see the thoughts of the "first lady" on everything from her relationship with her husband to her recent renovation of the Rose Garden, which she said was accomplished with a technique she calls a "reverse Marie Kondo": "I look at something, and if it sparks joy, I kill it."
  • Pompeo breaks precedent: The secretary of state's speech set for Tuesday is also attracting special attention, notably because he just sent out a cable in July issuing a warning to US diplomats that, per federal law, they shouldn't openly take sides in the presidential campaign or take part in partisan activities. It's a cable regularly sent out during election years, but "none of his predecessors ... has disregarded those instructions so obviously," notes ABC News.
  • Other speakers: After Donald Trump Jr. spoke on Monday, siblings Eric Trump and Tiffany Trump take the stage to do the same Tuesday night, per USA Today. Also on the docket: Sen. Rand Paul, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, and Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann, who gained worldwide attention for a viral video of his interaction with a Native American demonstrator in 2019.
(Read more Republican National Convention stories.)

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