A former US senator has hit out at President Donald Trump after his wife Melania delivered a speech in support of her husband at the 2020 Republican National Convention.
Addressing the convention on Tuesday (local time), the First Lady said her deepest sympathies went out to those who lost a loved one due to the novel coronavirus.
She said her prayers were with those who were ill and suffering, while acknowledging people were feeling anxious and helpless.
“I want you to know you are not alone,” she said.
The First Lady, who spoke at the convention in a bid to capture votes from women who backed Hilary Clinton in the 2016 election, added Mr Trump was an honest man – a quality she said US citizens deserved.
However the comments really fired up former Democratic politician and US senator Claire McCaskill, who said in an interview with MSNBC that she had had enough of the incumbent president.
She took aim at Mr Trump over a court order requiring the president to pay porn star Stormy Daniels for her legal battle to cancel a hush money deal brokered to keep her quiet about their sexual relationship a decade ago.
Ms McCaskill said while the First Lady was the first in the White House to send her condolences to families grieving the loss of loved ones during the pandemic, she did not believe she would help win votes in the intended demographic.
“Let’s be real about whether or not she’s really going to help him with women in the suburbs,” Ms McCaskill said.
“They know what the deal is here – they’ve all defended husbands publicly. This is a woman whose husband has had to pay court costs this week because he paid off a porn star because he was having sex behind [Melania’s] back with a porn star right after she gave birth to their son.
“Give me a break, I am done with this guy.”
People on Twitter claimed the First Lady’s speech was “disingenuous”.
“Acknowledging that she’s the only person to acknowledge COVID deaths is still disingenuous. Everything about tonight was about pretending that they are not the people they really are,” one wrote.
‘We still have so much to learn’
Melania Trump put a kinder, gentler sheen on Donald Trump's reelection campaign as she broke ranks to speak compassionately about coronavirus victims and recalled her own immigrant story in an appeal for racial harmony.
The 26-minute speech was remarkable for her defence of the immigrant experience and acknowledgement of rising racial tensions – two combustible topics that her husband is often accused of stoking for political gain.
"I have reflected on the racial unrest in our country. It is a harsh reality that we are not proud of parts of our history," she said.
"I call on the citizens of this country to take a moment, pause, and look at things from all perspectives.
"We still have so much to learn from one another."
The First Lady also urged people to stop the violence amid Black Lives Matter protests.
"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,” she said.
“Instead of tearing things down, let's reflect on our mistakes. Be proud of our evolution and look to our way forward. Everyday, let us remember that we are one nation, under God, and we need to cherish one another."
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