Nichola Gutgold | Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences at Penn State Lehigh Valley
By all accounts, when Melania Trump finished her much anticipated, well delivered 2016 RNC speech last night, it was considered a great success. Now, the media is focusing on whether or not the speech was a failure because of alleged plagiarizing of Michelle Obama’s 2008 DNC speech.
I believe that the speech is a failure because Melania Trump did not give a full picture of her husband. Donald Trump has no elected experience, has been twice divorced and continually makes inflammatory remarks. Melania’s speech was a moment for the person who likely knows him most intimately — his wife of 18 years — to say that he is thoughtful, tender, kind and honest and to back up the assertions with evidence.
She did not do this to the extent that she needed to in order to change his image from boor to a person fit to be president. She said his “kindness is there for all to see” and that it was “one of the reasons I fell in love with him in the first place.” But there were no examples.
In contrast, when Elizabeth Dole spoke in 1996 about Bob Dole, the Republican nominee, who was described by Time Magazine as “the nation’s mortician,” she offered evidence, such as the formation of The Bob Dole Foundation to help people with disabilities.
All the attention is on whether or not Melanie Trump plagiarized Michelle Obama’s speech, which is probably the fault of a sloppy speechwriter. But the true failure of Melania Trump’s speech is that she needed an illustrative story or two to prove Donald Trump’s “goodness of heart” beyond having well-educated, impressive children of his own.