STRETCH RUN

Crowd cheers for Me­la­nia Trump, wife of GOP can­di­date Don­ald Trump

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Linda Stein lstein@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @lstein­re­porter on Twit­ter

Around 1,000 cheer­ing Don­ald Trump sup­port­ers came to hear his wife, Me­la­nia Trump, speak at the Main Line Sports Cen­ter Thurs­day af­ter­noon.

The crowded roared in ap­proval as Me­la­nia Trump stood in front of Amer­i­can flags and quoted her hus­band’s tag line, “Make Amer­ica great again.”

Penn­syl­va­nia re­minds her of her home coun­try, Slove­nia, where she grew up in a small town when it was a Com­mu­nist coun­try. There they al­ways knew that Amer­ica meant free­dom and op­por­tu­nity, she said, and that “if you can dream it, you can be­come it” here. Peo­ple in her coun­try were also inspired by Ron­ald Rea­gan’s “morn­ing in Amer­ica,” she said. She came to Amer­ica to pur­sue a ca­reer in the fash­ion in­dus­try.

“I wanted to fol­low my dreams to a place where free­dom and op­por­tu­nity abounded,” said Me­la­nia Trump. “No one val­ues the free­dom of op­por­tu­nity as an Amer­i­can more than me as some­one who im­mi­grated to Amer­ica.” She ob­tained a green card, then stud­ied and be­came a U.S. cit­i­zen in 2006. Me­la­nia Trump spoke of be­ing a stay-at-home mother for her

son, Bar­ron, and of her hus­band’s cam­paign.

Her hus­band “cer­tainly knows how to shake things up, doesn’t he?” she said, to laugh­ter and ap­plause. “He knows how to make real change. Make Amer­ica great again is not just a slo­gan.”

Over the years, her hus­band has seen Amer­i­can fac­to­ries close and Amer­ica work­ers suf­fer, she said. He got more and more frus­trated, she said. While he built a good busi­ness and a good life, he could not “sit back and watch what was hap­pen­ing in our coun­try,” she said.

Dur­ing her speech, the crowd chanted, “Trump, Trump,” sev­eral times. At the close they yelled, “U.S.A., U.S.A.”

“What kind of coun­try do we want? Do we want a coun­try that is safe with se­cure bor­ders?” she asked. “Do we want a coun­try that hon­ors our Con­sti­tu­tion? That hon­ors life, lib­erty and the pur­suit of hap­pi­ness?”

Me­la­nia Trump added, “Where ev­ery child gets a good ed­u­ca­tion? (And) where ev­ery­one gets a fair shot? Do we want Don­ald Trump to be our pres­i­dent?” The crowd cheered in ap­proval.

If her hus­band is elected and she be­comes the first lady, Me­la­nia Trump said, “It will be my honor and priv­i­lege to serve this coun­try. I will be an ad­vo­cate for women and for chil­dren.”

“We need to teach our youth Amer­i­can val­ues (of) kind­ness, hon­esty, re­spect, com­pas­sion, char­ity...,” she said. She said that she would work to stop chil­dren and teenagers from be­ing bul­lied on so­cial me­dia. While adults can han­dle “mean words” young­sters are more frag­ile, she said. Me­la­nia Trump also said that she would sup­port her hus­band’s ef­forts to fight poverty, and en­sure ci­ti­zens have ac­cess to health care.

“We can­not have more of the same,” Me­la­nia Trump said. She asked the au­di­ence to “em­brace a fu­ture that is wor­thy of our na­tion and these beau­ti­ful peo­ple… We must come to­gether as a na­tion. We must treat each other with re­spect and kind­ness even when we dis­agree.” She promised that Don­ald Trump would make Amer­ica safe and pros­per­ous and proud.

“And with your help and God’s grace, yes, we’ll make Amer­ica great again,” said Me­la­nia Trump.

Karen Pence, the wife of GOP vice pres­i­den­tial can­di­date In­di­ana Gov. Mike Pence, in­tro­duced Me­la­nia Trump, say­ing that she has got­ten to know her dur­ing the cam­paign and speak­ing about her warmth, caring and along with her hus­band, their “pas­sion for this coun­try.”

Be­fore the event be­gan, hun­dreds of peo­ple waited in line to hear Me­la­nia Trump speak, some in pa­tri­otic garb and one man who was dressed as Don­ald Trump with a Su­per­man cape. Some peo­ple wore Tshirts say­ing, “Bas­ket of De­plorables,” re­fer­ring to a deroga­tory char­ac­ter­i­za­tion by Hil­lary Clin­ton about half of Trump’s sup­port­ers.

Frank Vozzo, 59, of Hat­field, said that the main rea­son he sup­ported Trump was Wash­ing­ton, D.C., cor­rup­tion.

“Drain the swamp,” Vozzo said. He also would like the North Amer­i­can Free Trade Agree­ment (NAFTA) ended or mod­i­fied to “keep jobs in this coun­try.”

“The third rea­son I’m vot­ing for Trump is, I don’t want a crook in the White House,” he said.

Abing­ton res­i­dents Alice Par­sha, 72, and her hus­band, Thomas Par­sha, 78, were also wait­ing in line. Alice Par­sha sup­ports Trump be­cause “I hope he’s go­ing to do what he says he’s go­ing to do, shake it all up, and I can’t vote for Hil­lary.”

Her hus­band cited pro­tec­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tion, in­clud­ing pro­tect­ing the First and Sec­ond Amend­ment free­doms, as his main con­cern, as well as il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion.

Den­nis Eg­bert, 63, a mem­ber of Bik­ers for Trump, said he was a for­mer union mem­ber and had voted for Democrats all his life, in­clud­ing for Pres­i­dent Obama in 2008, but he is wor­ried about the di­rec­tion of the coun­try now and how vet­er­ans are be­ing treated. Eg­bert, of Harrisburg, served in the Marines dur­ing the Viet­nam War era. He is also men­tioned con­cerns about il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion, the treat­ment of law en­force­ment of­fi­cers and Oba­macare, which he said, he could no longer af­ford.

“Mr. Trump gives me some hope for a bet­ter Amer­ica,” said Eg­bert.

Peggy Mur­ray, 53, of West Ch­ester, took the day off work to at­tend Me­la­nia Trump’s speech.

She sup­ports Trump be­cause “the Demo­cratic op­po­nent be­longs in prison and not in the oval of­fice. No one is per­fect,” she added about Trump. “But any­one in Wash­ing­ton is in no po­si­tion to throw the first stone.”

Lena Bar­boza, 53, of Wyn­cote, said that she sup­ports Trump be­cause his poli­cies most align with her views.

“I don’t like open bor­ders,” she said. “Oba­macare is a mess.” She also “can­not imag­ine hav­ing Hil­lary Clin­ton and her car­tel be­ing in charge of the White House (be­cause of) the whole pay-to-play thing.” Af­ter what Wik­iLeaks has revealed, “I have no re­spect for her. I’m here to sup­port Don­ald Trump and I think his wife is great.”

Bar­boza said that van­dals have ripped down the Trump signs that she has in her yard about four times but she keeps re­plac­ing them.

There were no short­age of Trump/Pence signs at the event on Thurs­day. Also, pink signs that said “Women for Trump” and signs say­ing, “Make Amer­ica Great Again.” Many peo­ple picked up signs on their way out.

How­ever, Hil­lary signs made an ap­pear­ance too ear­lier in the day as a hand­ful of Hil­lary Clin­ton ac­tivists held a news con­fer­ence out­side the venue to counter Me­la­nia Trump’s speech.

Ch­ester County Com­mis­sion­ers’ Vice Chair­woman Kathi Coz­zone com­plained about var­i­ous com­ments that Trump has made about women, say­ing that as the mother of a teenage son who she is rais­ing to re­spect women, she wor­ries how he could be af­fected by the things that Trump has said.

Kaylie Haw­son Long of NARAL, an abor­tion rights group, also spoke in op­po­si­tion to Trump’s pro-life stance and de­cried his deroga­tory com­ments about women that “Me­la­nia Trump can­not ex­plain away.”

“His po­ten­tial to make life worse for women in Penn­syl­va­nia is very real,” said Haw­son.

Jac­que­line Ay­ers, of Planned Par­ent­hood Action Plan, said, “What’s at stake is ev­ery­thing we’ve achieved under Pres­i­dent Obama. Don­ald Trump is no friend of women. He de­means women.”

And Christina Hart­man, a Demo­crat who is run­ning for Congress to rep­re­sent the 16th District that in­cludes parts of Ch­ester, Berks and Lan­caster coun­ties, was also on hand. But as she spoke, Trump sup­port­ers, who were al­ready lin­ing up hours be­fore the event, came over with signs in hand and be­gan to shout slo­gans, drown­ing her words out. Hart­man said later that her GOP op­po­nent (Lloyd Smucker) sup­ports Trump and “is a rub­ber stamp for him.”

In­side, the event be­gan with prayers for Amer­ica and a ren­di­tion of “The Star Span­gled Ban­ner.” The crowd chanted “lock her up” and “drain the swamp,” along with “Trump, Trump, Trump.”

One of the speak­ers, Car­rie Al­mond, pres­i­dent of the Na­tional Fed­er­a­tion of Repub­li­can Women, said that she’s been trav­el­ing the coun­try to cam­paign for Trump and has seen “town af­ter town with stores and gas sta­tions closed. With Don­ald Trump, we have a suc­cess­ful busi­ness­man who will make our econ­omy grow again.” While Hil­lary Clin­ton “has played the women card,” which she said was a “des­per­ate ploy. We hold the women card be­cause we hold the Trump card. Their tac­tics are not work­ing.”

Rob Glea­son, state GOP chair­man, said that he’s been in­volved in Repub­li­can pol­i­tics all his life and has never seen this level of en­thu­si­asm for a cam­paign. He asked the crowd to knock on doors, make phone calls and to sup­port the all the can­di­dates on the Repub­li­can bal­lot when they vote on Tues­day.

“I wanted to fol­low my dreams to a place where free­dom and op­por­tu­nity abounded. No one val­ues the free­dom of op­por­tu­nity as an Amer­i­can more than me as some­one who im­mi­grated to Amer­ica.” — Me­la­nia Trump

THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Evan Vit­to­ri­ano, left, and his wife Julie, sup­port­ers of Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Don­ald Trump, wait in line with their chil­dren be­fore a speech by Trump’s wife, Me­la­nia Trump, in Berwyn Thurs­day.

THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Me­la­nia Trump, hus­band of Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Don­ald Trump, speaks at the Main Line Sports Cen­ter in Berwyn Thurs­day.

THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Donna Can­cassi, a sup­porter of Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Don­ald Trump, wears an out­fit em­bla­zoned with stars and stripes as she waits in line to hear a speech by Me­la­nia Trump in Berwyn Thurs­day.

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