Melania Trump’s Impressive Speech on Decency and Values
Note: I wrote this column immediately after Melania Trump’s impressive speech Monday night at the convention and before the questions about its content were raised.
I didn’t know what to expect from Melania Trump’s speech at the Republication Convention. I had not really heard her speak before. I know she’s a model, a mother and not much else.
But she gave a powerful speech of great importance. The reason: it focused on values.
There is no reason Donald Trump should lose to Hillary Clinton. She is an incredibly flawed candidate whom the country does not trust. She had trouble beating a septuagenarian socialist who has made a habit of defaming Israel.
So if Trump loses it will be because people did not like him or trust his values.
We Americans want to respect our leaders. We want them to be strong but also nice. Determined but decent. And Trump’s critics question his heart after a campaign where a lot of insults were thrown.
So along comes his wife and gives, to my knowledge, the first major speech associated with this campaign about simply being a decent human being.
She spoke of being raised by her parents in Slovenia and how they taught her to respect all people. She said her husband wanted to be president of all Americans, from Jews and Muslims to Latinos and African-Americans. She said her husband wanted to unite the country.
It was eloquent and softly delivered. I was impressed.
Which leads to this simple question: why doesn’t her husband give a similar speech?
A month ago I wrote a column practically begging Trump not to force people who wanted to support him to choose between his candidacy and our values.
I can’t support Hillary. She wants to give Iran $150 billion, which it will use to slaughter innocent people the world over.
But I can only get enthusiastically behind Trump when he runs a campaign committed to certain, simple values.
And what are those values? What Melania Trump in part articulated. To treat all people – Muslims, Jews, blacks, whites – with respect. To try to unify this grossly divided country. To take responsibility when you’ve hurt someone and acknowledge the wound. To fight evil and protect the innocent. To exhibit decency and compassion.
Trump should listen to his wife’s speech, and when he accepts the Republican nomination on Thursday, he should say the same.
His wife gave him an opening to deliver a speech of dignity and refinement.
I’m not saying Trump shouldn’t go after Hillary. He should. From Benghazi to the Iran deal, Hillary is weak on national security and will, I’m sure, push for the creation of a Palestinian state, whatever the security implications for Israel.
Trump should call her out on all those things.
But while doing that, Trump should reach out to Latino Americans, Muslim Americans, African-Americans and any other group who has a negative opinion of him and try and mend fences. He should say what Jesse Jackson said in his masterful 1984 Convention speech, that if he offended anyone through the rigors of the campaign, “Please forgive me. Charge it to my head and not to my heart.”
Trump can turn around many people’s impression of him if he articulates, and lives by, the warm values his wife expressed in her impressive speech.