RNC takeaways night 2: Melania Trump speaks of ‘harsh reality’ of racial unrest, Pompeo stirs controversy

Donald Trump has cultivated an image as a man of tough words and quick action, someone who’s not afraid to bruise feelings. But Republicans Tuesday tried to portray a softer Trump, one who cares about the little guy: the lobsterman in Maine, the dairy farmer from Wisconsin, the police officer from New Mexico.

“More than any president in my lifetime, he’s acknowledged the importance of farmers and agriculture,” said Cris Peterson, a dairy farmer struggling until Trump’s policies helped turn her business around.

It was a shift in tone from Monday when speeches were laced with dark imagery about what might happen if Joe Biden is elected president. Still,Tuesday had its negative moments – former Florida attorney general Pam Bondi going after Biden’s integrity and Eric Trump Jr. attacking the “radical Democrats” who want to destroy the nation.

RNC Live:Republicans sought to strike a hopeful tone on Day 2 of their convention

But this turned into an opportunity to portray the president as possessing the one quality his critics accuse him of lacking: empathy. One of the most notable moments came during a taped appearance from the White House where he signed a pardon to Jon Ponder, founder of Hope For Prisoners, a Las Vegas-based organization that helps ex-prisoners re-enter society.

“Today, I’m filled with hope,” said Ponder, at one point appearing to choke up. “I have been given a second chance.”

US President Donald Trump, alongside Vice President Mike Pence, arrives to listen to US First Lady Melania Trump address the Republican Convention during its second day from the Rose Garden of the White House August 25, 2020, in Washington, DC.

The closing speech of the evening was delivered by first lady Melania Trump, who talked about her “Be Best” anti-bullying campaign, weighed in on the issue of racial unrest and said her husband has “America .. in his heart.”

Melania Trump describes her husband as an ‘authentic person’

First lady Melania Trump rarely speaks publicly so her keynote address Tuesday was already going to be must-see TV.

Speaking at a White House Rose Garden whose renovation she oversaw, Trump’s speech came a little over a week after Michelle Obama’s searing rebuke of President Trump during the Democratic National Convention.

Melania Trump described her husband as an “authentic person” who loves the country and wants to make it better. The Slovenian-born first lady spoke confidently about the “freedoms and opportunities” her adopted country has afforded her, her ‘Be Best’ initiative to prevent children from being bullied, and the importance of recognizing the power of women.