US presidential hopeful Donald Trump took the stage Monday at the Republican National Convention to introduce his wife and keynote speaker Melania Trump, vowing “we’re going to win” against Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Trump, who broke with tradition by appearing at the convention before his nomination, beamed as his wife, a Slovenian-born former model, strode to the podium to a roar of applause.
“He does not give up,” Melania Trump said of her husband during an eloquent 14-minute speech in which she portrayed him as a loving father and successful businessman who would be a strong and compassionate public servant.
“If you want someone to fight for you and your country, I can assure you, he’s the guy,” she said.
“My husband offers a new direction,” the glamorous 46-year-old told the crowd, her speech a high point after a chaotic opening day at the Cleveland confab.
Melania’s background and allure make her a potentially potent surrogate for her husband, particularly on sensitive issues like immigration and gender.
She touched on both in her speech, introducing Republican delegates -- and millions of Americans watching on television -- to her European heritage and the values of hard work instilled by her parents.
“I cannot, or will not, take the freedoms this country offers for granted,” she said.
She used her prime-time address -- perhaps the biggest political moment of her life to date -- as an effort to humanize her husband after an intense primary season often dominated by over-heated rhetoric and accusations that Trump discriminates against Muslims, Mexicans and others.
“He’s tough when he has to be, but he’s also kind and fair and caring,” Mrs. Trump said, describing Trump as “intensely loyal” to family, friends, employees and the country.
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“This kindness is not always noted, but it is there for all to see.”
Her husband “intends to represent all the people, not just some of the people,” she added.
“That includes Christians and Jews and Muslims. It includes Hispanics and African-Americans and Asians and the poor and the middle class.”
Before introducing his wife, Trump made a dramatic, made-for-TV entrance.
He stood ramrod still on the stage in dark shadow, silhouetted against a light green backdrop as the Queen’s “We Are the Champions” boomed through the arena.