Bill Clinton on Friday used Melania Trump’s recent campaign speech about cyber bullying to mock Donald Trump, suggesting her advocacy is ironic considering her husband’s long history of antagonizing people on Twitter.
“I never felt so bad for anybody in my life as I did for his wife going out giving a speech saying ‘Oh, cyber bullying was a terrible thing,’” Clinton said, campaigning for his own wife, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, in Pueblo, Colorado.
“I thought, ‘Yeah, especially if it’s done at three o’clock in the morning against a former Miss Universe by a guy running for president!’” the former president said to laughter.
Melania Trump delivered her speech warning against the harms of cyber bullying on Thursday in the suburbs of Philadelphia. It was her first high-profile address on the campaign trail since her appearance at the Republican National Convention in July. Her speech there initially garnered a positive reaction, but it spurred a media firestorm when reports surfaced that parts of it had been plagiarized from a 2008 speech by Michelle Obama.
“None of this is real. You couldn’t make it up,” Clinton added on Friday. “The problem is we’re laughing, but it isn’t funny because people’s lives are going to be changed by this.”
It was his tenth address to a Democratic convention and it was, by far, the most personal.Former US President Bill Clinton powerfully sought to restore impetus of Hillary Clinton’s campaign amid growing populist challenge from Republican nominee Donald Trump on Tuesday when he insisted that Hillary is “the best darn change-maker I ever met in my life.”
The 68-year-old former First Lady, senator and secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, took a monumental step on her quest to become America’s first female commander-in-chief, by besting party challenger Bernie Sanders.
Hours after the announcement, Bill took the stage to intimately make a case for his wife and tell the cheering crowd that his wife was the compassionate and “capable change catalyst” that America needed. It will be a role-reversal for the Democratic couple if Hillary seals a win and two firsts for the White House. A former US President, who might become the first First Gentleman, pitching for former First Lady who could become America’s first woman President.
Bill Clinton’s heartfelt and tremendously touching speech got us thinking of two things: First, the speech capitalised on Clinton’s symbolic breakthrough (glass ceilings) and second, it reminded us of Melania Trump’s speech. Even though Melania’s speech came under immense criticism over plagiarism allegations, Trump’s third wife attempted to make a genuine appeal to the audience to go for her husband Donald in the presidential elections. However, comparing Bill to Melania is unfair.
On one hand, you have a statesman, diplomat and the 42nd US President whose political career includes stints as both the attorney general and governor of Arkansas.
On the other hand, there is Melania Trump. A Slovenian-born former model, jewellery designer, full-time mom (by her own admission), Melania started modelling at the young age of 16. Her career soared, and after college, she travelled to Milan and Paris for photo shoots. It wasn’t until 1996 that she first arrived in the US. She would be the first First Lady to have publicly posed nude, the first for whom English is not a first language, the first third wife and the second born outside the US. Basically a life far away from politics of it all, until she met Donald Trump in 1998 and married him in 2005.
Being the First Spouse and preparing that speech is a tedious task in itself. Add to that the pattern of US presidential elections. It formally rests on their shoulders to talk up their husbands/wives. Since the US presidential election is more about the person and less about the party, this speech of the First Spouses, is what really stays with the people. The fact that Melania’s speech got mowed down because of plagiarism allegation will stay in public memory for a long time. And Bill’s opening statement, “In the spring of 1971, I met a girl” will be listed as one of the things you tell a girl.
It’s no surprise that Bill’s speech was significantly moving.
Bill and Hillary have been married for 41 years. There have been words, decades of video and much commentary to their story. It has been dissected, defended and decried. But on Tuesday night, as millions of voters watched and with the political stakes as high as they’ve ever been, Bill Clinton tried to make sense of it all and make the case for his wife, Hillary.
In a 42-minute tour through wedding proposals and Halloween parties, the deaths of parents and movie marathons, Bill conspicuously omitted the Monica Lewinsky scandal, impeachment and legal battles that followed – perhaps their worst moments together. Bill pitched himself as someone who is in the passenger seat with Hillary as the driver, reshaping the story of their much-discussed decades in politics. “He cast her as a liberal heroine of her own story, who fought for education reform, health care, civil rights, the disabled, 9/11 first responders and economically depressed rural areas,” Associated Press reported.
“This woman has never been satisfied with the status quo on anything. She always wants to move the ball forward. That is just who she is.” Nearly 70, a bit frailer, a touch shakier, Bill was the perfect First Gentleman on Tuesday.
Melania Trump, on the other hand, in her speech last week, merely asked voters to take her word that her husband is an all-around good guy. Bill provided details.
Melania and Donald have been married for 11 years. The duo, who haven’t really been in the media glare until Donald announced his nomination, don’t come off as a team compared to Bill and Hillary, who, honestly, have done this in the past. In fact, very little is known of their personal lives. To make matters worse, there were reports of the “awkward kiss” between the two. Donald-Melania’s marriage is hard to relate to. Sample this: a man who is known for his hate speeches against immigrants and other races, is married to a Slovenian model (also a US citizen).
Familiarity breeds contempt but not in the US presidential elections. Since you vote for a person and not for the party in US, a husband/wife’s speech becomes crucial because that makes the nominee a human that the public will identify with. They remain a “two for one” package, as Bill Clinton famously said during his first presidential race. But on Tuesday night, he hinted, just barely, that Clinton perhaps is finally getting her part of the deal. “I married my best friend,” he said. “And I really hoped that she choosing me and rejecting my own advice to pursue her own career was a decision she’d never regret.”
It is an uneven comparison. Even though we do not know how Melania’s speech would have read if it was not “plagiarised”, it is still not fair to compare the speech of a veteran who has done this many a times, as opposed to a Slovenian-American former model who is married to a man who hates immigrants.