Wearing a crisp, white buttoned-down blouse, Ralph Lauren Collection black pants, white heels, and gold chains around her neck, Melania extended her empathy toward mothers and spouses of soldiers. “As everyone in this room knows, “mother” is a title that claims your heart and changes your life forever,” she said to the crowd in the East Room of the White House. “In fact, it has been said that having a child means allowing your heart to walk around outside of your body. For the mothers of someone who has, or is, serving our country, this must be especially true.”
She added, “While you stand with many other parents, so strong and so proud, I am sure that you sometimes march on this journey alone. While your sons and daughters are away serving so selflessly, having a community share even some of that burden must make all the difference in the world.”
“Thank you for all that you do, for your selflessness and for your own sacrifice on behalf of our country,” she said. “Let today’s celebration with this community of strong and selfless moms be a first step in building relationships, and in your knowing, that my husband and I, along with … everyone here at the White House, hold you close in our hearts and thoughts each and every day.”
Friday also marked Military Spouse Appreciation Day, an annual holiday started in 1999 to honor military families. Melania delivered her remarks after an opening speech by the president, during which he showered praise on his wife of 12 years.
“This is one of the many opportunities for us to thank the incredible military mothers who love and care for our nation’s heroes, and they are heroes, so thank you very much, and the mothers are heroes, too,” President Trump said, according to CNN. “It is your sacrifice that protects our nation, safeguards our liberties, and makes sure our beautiful American flag always waves proudly above our very glorious land.”
He also seemingly referenced his approval rating by adding to the audience, “I see you shaking your head, yes, yes, yes. That’s different than we watch on television every once in a while, that reaction, right? I like your reaction.”
Of his wife, mother to their 11-year-old son, Barron, the president said, “She has become so popular, it’s true. It’s true. In fact, I’m going to have to ask her how are you doing this? But our first lady, they had a poll that came out, she went through it like a rocket ship. I said, ‘How do you do this?’ And that’s only because people have really gotten to know her.”
The couple then shared a rare public kiss at the podium.
Earlier that afternoon, President Trump received backlash after tweeting about “introducing” Melania to the White House. His choice of words triggered a wave of “Free Melania”-themed tweets, and ribs about his alleged stormy marriage.
White House spokesperson Stephanie Grisham confirmed to CNN that the first couple would be spending Mother’s Day at home. However, she declined to elaborate on their plans. “All Sundays are special,” said the president before he left the event, “but this Sunday is very, very special.”
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