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July 20, 2016 4:13 am

Melania Trump’s Impressive Speech on Decency and Values

avatar by Shmuley Boteach

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Melania Trump gave a speech Monday night at the Republican National Convention. Photo: Shmuley Boteach.

Melania Trump’s speech Monday night at the Republican National Convention focused on values, says Boteach. Photo: Shmuley Boteach.

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.

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  • Daniel

    This article basically boils down to saying that [candidate] will be much better if they just replace [fundamental aspect of their candidacy] with [incompatible belief system that I like better]. You could say that about every single candidate for every single office in the history of the world.

    So why not say the exact same thing, but about Hillary Clinton instead? Write a column “practically begging Hillary not to force people who wanted to support her to choose between her candidacy and our values”. Tell Hillary that you can only “get enthusiastically behind her when she runs a campaign committed to certain, simple values” (in her case, national security and support for Israel instead of bigotry and vulgarity).

    Hillary is who she is. Trump is who he is. The hope that Trump believes in the values expressed in Melania’s speech but has somehow managed to avoid expressing them in his three decades in the public eye is as worthy of ridicule as it is naive.

    Trump will not change. He will not “pivot”. He will not suddenly reveal his inner Dalai Lama. Even if he does decide to “deliver a speech of dignity and refinement”, it would be a speech written by a professional speechwriter not named Trump – and the real Trump would be in evidence again at his first rally the following day.

    “If only Hillary Clinton were to finally announce that she is pro-life! She would turn around many people’s impression of her if she articulates and lives by this value!”

    Really, this article is absurd.

    • sara ploni

      I agree, this article is absurd. I will not be able to vote for Hillary (there probably is no real Hillary, except for bionic ambition) nor Trump ( the real Trump is bigotted, ignorant and totally lacking in integrity ). Neither one has earned my vote and sadly, speeches about values will not turn this horrific election’s double-bind around for me.

      • John Train

        1.     The bottom line is simple. The choice is Hillary Clinton and an unstoppable troika of  Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and Hillary Clinton  OR Donald Trump surrounded by competent and stable people who can limit  him in his actions. .

        2.     If Clinton is elected it is likely that the Democrats will gain control of the House of Representatives and the Senate. Then, it is likely that Chuck Schumer will be the leader of the Senate and Nancy Pelosi will be the speaker the house. In that case this trio would be uncontrollable and  jam  things through. There would be  no checks or balances. We would have  multiple repeats of the Iran nuclear deal steamroller.

         We  will face a very tilted liberal Supreme Court that will last for generations; a very left-wing District and Circuit Court system which will last for generations; a regulation and control oriented bureaucratic establishment dominating the all of the federal  regulatory agencies {EPA,  FCC,Etc,Etc].

        3.     What should   responsible unhappy Republicans do? 


         If Trump is elected is likely that the house and the Senate will remain Republican. Both House and Senate would have responsible Republican leadership. To get something through Republicans would have to be united and gain Democratic votes. This means that there is a reasonable chance of control of an unreasonable Donald Trump while there is no chance of control of an unreasonable Hillary Clinton.

        A president brings in approximately 3000 appointees. Instead of fighting Trump, the intellectual wing of the Republican Party should do exactly what they did when they strongly  influenced Trump’s  possible  Supreme Court appointee list.  This pool should be flooded with qualified people who are at least sympathetic and supportive of basic Republican aims. These explicit aims  should include a stronger and more effective US military. A robust energy policy which is supportive of developments such as fracking. A commitment to technical and employment skills education. Etc. etc.