WASHINGTON, July 27, 2016 – America may not be Melania Trump’s country of birth. English may not be her first language (she speaks five fluently). But tonight Melania Knaus Trump stood up on a very large stage before America and reminded us that she chose to be an American citizen, because America is a great country.
She told us that she will work for the women and children of this country to make sure they have a future that is hopeful regardless of race, religion or sexual orientation.
Contrast this to Michelle Obama’s speech in 2008 before the Wisconsin primary when she said should her husband should he win the Democratic nomination. “For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback,” she said.
Michelle Obama comes from a Chicago working class family. Not one of extreme privilege, but also not one of great hardship. Her mother was a stay at home mom in their South Shore two story “Chicago Bungalow” home where her parents rented the apartment on the second floor from her great-aunt, who lived downstairs.
She took piano lessons, attended school down the street from her home, and the family would vacation in a rustic cabin in White Cloud, Michigan. Her brother Craig attended Princeton before her.
Mrs. Obama’s 1985 thesis at the Ivy League Princeton University was on “Princeton-Educated Blacks and the Black Community.”
“…my experiences at Princeton have made me far more aware of my ‘blackness’ than ever before. I have found that at Princeton no matter how liberal and open-minded some of my White professors and classmates try to be towards me, I sometimes feel like a visitor on campus; as if I really don’t belong. Regardless of the circumstances under which I interact with Whites at Princeton, it often seems as if, to them, I will always be Black first and a student second.”
She further suggests that even if she assimilates into white society after Princeton, she will “remain on the periphery of society: never becoming a full participant.” (Newsweek)
Following Princeton, Obama attended Harvard Law school. Within her thesis and by her actions and words as First Lady, it is not hard to conclude that she never felt the an overriding love for an America she did not identify with.
Despite it being the country of her birth.
Mrs. Trump was raised in Communist Slovenia to working class parents who still, despite their billionaire son-in-law, when not in New York with their daughter and grandson, live in the same house they purchased in 1984.
For children in Slovenia, primary schooling finished at age 15, however, the father Vicktor saved money to allow the family to move to Ljubjana so that, Melanie and her sister Ines, could attend a technical high school where Knaus studied industrial design until she was accepted at the University of Ljubljana to study architecture.
With her modeling career taking off, those pursuits went to the side. Mrs. Trump has lived an international life and speaks five languages, including English as we all heard tonight.
In her speech, her first words were to offer respect to those original 16 person who all sought the nomination that Donald Trump will be awarded at the 2016 GOP Convention.
She spoke of knowing Donald’s affection for “this country” that he, like me, loves very much.
She paid homage to her parents and that her parents impressed on her values or working hard and her love of family and America. She was taught that her work is her bond, and that you do what you say, keep your promises. She was taught to respect each other – all lessons she teaches her son Barron saing that America needs to teach these lesson to our future generations and that “the only limit to your achievements is the strength of your dreams and your willingness to work toward them”
Tonight Mrs. Trump stepped forward and spoke of love, loyalty, respect and how great America is.
One can’t help but remember she chose to become an American citizen. As the wife of an American, she could have retained her Slovenian citizenship.
But she chose not to.
She felt that America was a place to be proud of. That our ideals were ideals to strive for. And she will make a great First Lady, because of her country of birth, not despite it.