Local Republican lawmakers say first lady Melania Trump’s keynote speech on day two of the Republican National Convention was a “home run.”
In a Tuesday night speech delivered live from the White House Rose Garden — despite criticism from Democrats that using the White House for a convention event violated the Hatch Act — the first lady presented a message of unity, saying that she didn’t want to use her “precious time” attacking Democrats.
“As we saw last week, that kind of talk only serves to divide our further,” she said.
State Rep. Terri Bryant, who represents the 115th District in Southern Illinois, said Melania Trump’s message would resonate with voters in her part of the state.
“She presents herself in a very kind and generous manner,” Bryant said. “We’re very excited here in deep Southern Illinois. Southern Illinois carried Donald Trump to the point of 65, 70 all the way up into the high 70s last election. So we are ready to do that again here. The first lady’s speech last night hit a home run for us.”
Rep. John Cabello, who represents the 68th District, which includes Loves Park, Machesney Park and parts of Rockford, said he thought the first lady’s speech was “dead on.”
“I thought she did an excellent job,” Cabello said. “She is a wickedly smart lady and she has done an outstanding job.”
He also said Republicans are right to paint Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden as beholden to the “radical left.”
“All you have to do is look at his long-standing, 40-plus year career and look at some of the things that he said,” Cabello said. “Look at the legislation he tried to pass. I think he is part of the old guard, not part of the new guard, and I think he wants to make sure that the radicals have way more of a voice than the silent majority that is the rest of this country.”
Kenosha protests, police shooting
Cabello said it was right for the federal government to offer support in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
“I think they need to back up the states who are having these issues,” Cabello said. “Offer as much support as they can — and I think they have done that. It just depends on whether those states want that help or not.”
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, has indeed mobilized the state’s National Guard to support Kenosha law enforcement. But Bryant said she believes some Democratic leaders were deliberately refusing law enforcement assistance being offered by the Trump administration.
“I think we have seen that (Trump) has offered over and over again to give assistance but you will find that the states who are refusing that assistance are Democrat states,” Bryant said. “They are run by Democrat governors in cities with Democrat mayors — and they don’t want to receive the help because I’m not sure they really want to quell these uprisings.”
Rep. Dan Brady, the deputy minority leader in the Illinois House of Representatives, said that “mutual respect” could help quell the violence.
“Quite frankly, mutual respect with each other could go a long way,” Brady said. “It is everyone’s right to protest but when the protests turn violently, that’s when the line has gotta be drawn. And unfortunately there are times when violence has to meet violence to remind individuals that there are laws … and there is order that has to be followed.”