Melania Trump, Pompeo headline second day of Republican convention

WASHINGTON: United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and First Lady Melania Trump addressed the second day of the Republican convention.

Republicans renominated President Donald Trump for four more years in the White House. The mood at the convention was sombre and mostly addressed by Trump’s family members.

The president’s son Donald Trump Jr framed the November election between his father and Biden as a choice between “church, work and school” and “rioting, looting and vandalism.” The coronavirus pandemic dented Trump’s reelection hopes was largely ignored although Don Jr claimed there is “light at the end of the tunnel.”

Kimberly Guilfoyle, a former host and the girlfriend of Donald Trump Jr, described the coming election as a “battle for the soul of America” – echoing a phrase Biden has used throughout his campaign. “They want to destroy this country and everything we have fought for and hold dear,” Guilfoyle said. “They want to steal your liberty, your freedom.”

First lady Melania Trump offered sympathy for victims of the coronavirus pandemic and a plea for racial understanding aimed at women voters who have abandoned Trump.

Trump’s wife acknowledged the pain of the pandemic in sharp contrast to most other speakers at the party’s national convention.

“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.”

Melania Trump and other women appeared to be trying to sway the critical voting bloc ahead of the 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. There were protests this week after a Black man was shot and left paralyzed 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 color of a person’s skin.”

The speech by Melania Trump capped a day when Republicans sought to reshape the narrative around the economy by largely ignoring millions of jobs lost to the coronavirus pandemic.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaking from Jerusalem, praised a recent deal to normalize relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

Pompeo highlighted the 2018 move of the US Embassy to Jerusalem, popular with American evangelicals who form a critical part of Trump’s core support.

Melania Trump’s remarks and the speech by Pompeo were criticised by Democrats who questioned using the presidential residence for political purposes and of Pompeo making a political speech during a diplomatic trip to Israel. Trump will deliver his convention speech from the White House lawn tomorrow.

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