Melania Trump hits the campaign trail for first solo event

Melania Trump, wife of Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump waves as she speaks during the opening day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Monday, July 18, 2016. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Melania Trump, wife of Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump waves as she speaks during the opening day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Monday, July 18, 2016. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Donald Trump’s wife, Melania, is making a rare appearance on the campaign trail Thursday, delivering a get-out-the-vote speech in the Philadelphia suburbs with less than a week to go before Election Day.

Mrs. Trump will headline her first solo event with a speech outlining her husband’s vision for American women, children and families, and laying out her priorities as first lady if her husband is elected to the White House.

According to Trump’s campaign, Mrs. Trump “will speak from the heart about her husband, Donald J. Trump, and the leadership qualities he has to make their beloved country more prosperous and secure.”

She is expected to discuss their family, her marriage and their personal experiences during the campaign – working to humanizing her husband in front of an audience of suburban women who are critical to Trump’s hopes in Pennsylvania and other key states.

“I come here today to talk about my husband, Donald, and his deep love and respect for this country and all of its people,” she is expected to say, according to excerpts from her prepared remarks shared by the campaign.

“I want our children in this country, and all around the world, to live a beautiful life, to be safe and secure. To dream freely of love and a family of their own someday,” read the excerpts. “We need to teach our youth American values. Kindness, respect, compassion, charity, understanding, cooperation.”

The speech comes as Trump’s rival Hillary Clinton and her allies have tried to paint the Republican nominee as anti-women, a strategy Democrats see as the best hope for rattling him and driving female voters away.

Thursday’s speech at the Main Line Sports Center will be Mrs. Trump’s first since she addressed the Republican National Convention in July. That speech was well-received initially, but was quickly overshadowed by the discovery that sections had been plagiarized from first lady Michelle Obama’s address to the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

While Mrs. Trump has given several television interviews and appeared by her husband’s side at events, the former model is more often seen than heard. She explains her frequent absence from the campaign trail by saying her priority is raising the couple’s 10-year-old son, Barron.

Meanwhile, Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, has been campaigning across the country, along with President Barack Obama, Mrs. Obama, and a long list of celebrity backers.

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Associated Press writer Jill Colvin contributed to this report from Jersey City, New Jersey.

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