On Thursday, first lady Melania Trump made a rare joint appearance alongside President Trump at a campaign rally, pitching her husband’s candidacy to Florida voters in what is a must-win state for the president.
The first lady gave extended remarks in Tampa, where she echoed many of the president’s grievances against the media and tech companies and hailed the Trump administration’s first term results. It marked the week’s second campaign appearance for Melania Trump, who is viewed as an asset to her husband as he struggles to win over female voters.
“For those of you who are still deciding who to vote for on Tuesday, I hope that what I have to say will prove to you that a vote for President Trump is a vote for a better America,” the first lady told thousands of supporters who had gathered for Thursday’s rally.
“In a time when hate, negativity, and fear are the messages the media streams into our homes and the large tech companies are protecting political censorship, we need to remember what is important,” she continued. “My husband’s administration is focused on the future.”
The first lady got loud cheers for declaring that her husband is a “law and order president” and that the United States is “a country of hope, not a country of fear or weakness.”
At one point, the president mocked Democratic nominee Joe Biden as “a touchy-feely guy,” and the crowd broke into a chant of “Creepy Joe.” President Trump has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than a dozen women.
“Our incredible first lady is sitting here right now, and she’s saying to herself, ‘I wonder if all rallies are like this?'” he joked.
Melania Trump has maintained higher favorability ratings than her husband throughout his first term in office. But she had been absent from the campaign trail for months, even as the president fell behind Biden in the polls.
According to recent polls, President Trump is trailing Biden narrowly in Florida, North Carolina, and other key swing states. Part of his problem has been struggling with female voters.
In an NBC News/Marist poll released Thursday, Biden led by 4 percentage points in Florida, but by 16 percentage points among women in the state.
A CNN poll released Thursday showed Biden up 12 points nationally, but his lead among women was a staggering 24 percentage points.
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The president has not helped his own cause, making casually sexist remarks mocking Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris’s laugh, calling NBC News anchor Savannah Guthrie “crazed” for her performance as moderator of a recent town hall event, and most recently telling female voters in Michigan that he’s working to get their husbands back to work.
Melania Trump was initially scheduled to appear at a Pennsylvania campaign rally with the president last week. Still, it was scrapped at the last minute after the first lady was dealing with a lingering cough after recovering from COVID-19.
She made her first solo appearance on the campaign trail on Tuesday in Pennsylvania, headlining an event in Atglen that was moderated by former White House counselor Kellyanne Conway. The first lady later stopped by a Trump campaign office to deliver pizza.