How Polite of Melania Trump

By Connie Schultz

August 27, 2020 6 min read

I don't care about Melania Trump's past life as a model. She has a right to do as she wants with her own body. Any attempt by liberals to shame her for that is an act of hypocrisy.

I don't care what she wears or how she looks. She is glamorous and beautiful, which has nothing to do with her character.

I would never mock her accent, because that's the stuff of racist right-wingers, the ones who shout at Latinos to speak "American" even as they show barely a passing familiarity with the English language.

What I care about is first lady Melania Trump's disregard for her fellow Americans and her willful enabling of the most dangerous president in U.S. history.

Some of the "news" coverage of the first lady's speech Tuesday night at the Republican National Convention described her performance as "restoring normalcy" and "remarkable." There was even praise for her "etiquette."

Such coverage casts Melania Trump as an innocent bystander in this administration of the most dangerous president in U.S. history.

We know better.

In a 2011 interview with Joy Behar, Melania Trump amplified her husband's racist lies about Barack Obama's birthplace, claiming that he had not produced a birth certificate. This was false.

"It's not only Donald who wants to see it," she said. "It's American people who voted for him and who didn't vote for him. They want to see that!"

When Behar made clear that Obama's birth certificate was already available on the internet, Melania Trump doubled down. "We feel it's different."

She has never apologized for this.

In October 2016, American voters and the rest of the world heard the released "Access Hollywood" recording capturing Donald Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women.

"I just start kissing them," he told Billy Bush. "It's like a magnet. Just kiss. I don't even wait. And when you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. ... Grab 'em by the p——. You can do anything."

Instead of standing tall against sexual predators, Melania dismissed her husband's admission of sexual assault as "boy talk."

She has never apologized for this.

Why, she had never heard her husband use such language.

"That's why I was surprised," she told CNN's Anderson Cooper. "Because I said, like, I don't know that person that would talk that way. And that he would say that kind of stuff in private. I've heard many different stuff, boys talk. I — the boys, the way they talk when they grow up and they want to sometimes show each other, 'Oh this and that' and talking about the girls and, but I was surprised, of course."

Sure.

In June 2018, she visited a detention center holding some of the thousands of migrant children ripped from the arms of their parents at our border and imprisoned in cages. As America's first lady, she wore a jacket with this message on its back: "I REALLY DON'T CARE, DO U?"

She has never apologized for this.

Instead, four months after her spokesperson dismissed it as just a jacket, Melania Trump told ABC News the message was directed at her critics. She's horribly picked on, she wants us to know.

But on Tuesday night, we're told, Melania Trump minded her manners.

At the end of two days of the Republican National Convention treating COVID-19 as if it's vanquished, she acknowledged its toll. She's restored normalcy!

After four years of her husband's racist rhetoric and policies, she referred to our country's "racial unrest." "So rare," one network political journalist tweeted. Such civility!

"Total honesty is what we as citizens deserve from our president," Melania Trump said. She was referring to her husband, who The Washington Post recently reported has told more than 20,000 false or misleading claims. She said this on White House grounds, which is the American people's house. She was standing in the Rose Garden that she had recently renovated. Because that's the message you want to send about your priorities after more than 180,300 people in this country have died of COVID-19.

Earlier this month, this was Donald Trump's televised response to the rising death toll: "It is what it is."

On Tuesday night, Melania Trump never acknowledged that. It wouldn't have been the polite thing to do.

Connie Schultz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and professional in residence at Kent State University's school of journalism. She is the author of two non-fiction books, including "...and His Lovely Wife," which chronicled the successful race of her husband, Sherrod Brown, for the U.S. Senate. She is also the author of The New York Times bestselling novel, "The Daughters of Erietown." To find out more about Connie Schultz ([email protected]) and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.

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