Melania Trump bemoans ‘mean’ so­ci­ety

Baltimore Sun - - ELECTION 2016 - By Noah Bier­man

WASH­ING­TON — Even as Don­ald Trump as­sails po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness, in­sults op­po­nents and draws bi­par­ti­san re­bukes for racially tinged in­sults, the wife of the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee vowed Thurs­day that she would de­vote her en­ergy as first lady to re­duc­ing on­line bul­ly­ing and pro­mot­ing more civil dis­course in Amer­i­can so­ci­ety.

“Our cul­ture has be­come too mean and too rough, es­pe­cially to chil­dren and teenagers,” Melania Trump said at a small rally in Berwyn, Pa. “We have to find a bet­ter way to talk to each other, to dis­agree with each other, to re­spect each other.”

Her mes­sage, that chil­dren should be pro­tected from bul­ly­ing on so­cial me­dia and that women should be given greater op­por­tu­nity, pro­vided a coun­ter­point to Hil­lary Clin­ton’s cam­paign against Trump, which has fo­cused on his harsh rhetoric, par­tic­u­larly to­ward women and mi­nori­ties.

To win, Trump needs to make up ground with fe­male vot­ers, par­tic­u­larly in sub­ur­ban coun­ties like the one where his wife spoke, out­side Philadel­phia.

But Melania Trump, a for­mer fash­ion model, has lit­tle in com­mon with the work­ing- and mid­dle-class vot­ers Trump is try­ing to lure. She ac­knowl­edged as much as she spoke about her life of glam­our and priv­i­lege. But she talked about the shared Amer­i­can val­ues — kind­ness, hon­esty, re­spect, com­pas­sion — she tries to pass on to her son, Bar­ron, re­gard­less of his ad­van­tages. Trump also spoke of her own up­bring­ing in com­mu­nist Slove­nia and the sense of op­ti­mism her fam­ily felt at the elec­tion of Ron­ald Rea­gan as U.S. pres­i­dent in 1980.

Amer­ica, she said, “was the word for free­dom and op­por­tu­nity” in her fam­ily. “If you could dream it, you could be­come it.”

PA­TRICK SE­MAN­SKY/AP

Melania Trump, wife of Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Don­ald Trump, takes the stage Thurs­day in Berwyn, Pa.

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