The Trump family convention will kick off in earnest tonight as Donald Trump arrives to introduce his wife, Melania, as she delivers a prime time speech tonight aimed at introducing voters to her husband.
Trump revealed early Monday he’d make the unscheduled appearance, saying he wanted to see his wife speak -- and get a look at the convention stage he described as “really one of the most beautiful I’ve seen of its kind.”
Campaign manager Paul Manafort said the two will arrive in Ohio together and head back to New York after Melania Trump speaks. Trump will formally return to the convention on Wednesday.
The spousal speech is the start of what Manafort called “family testimonials that will describe Donald Trump, the man.”
Trump’s four grown children are also scheduled to address the convention, a move Manafort called “historic” and largely unprecedented.
Never before, he noted, has a candidate’s family been used as extensively “to show the inner part of the personality of the candidate.
“It is not one or two speeches,” Manafort said. “We think it is an important part of the night.”
Manafort on Sunday would not confirm speculation that Trump would show up in person to watch his wife. But Trump himself spilled the beans on Monday morning: “I may sneak out, I have to be honest, I want to see this,” he told Fox News in a phone interview, adding that he’d like to see the stage where the speeches will be delivered: “We spent so much time building the center, it got built properly, it’s beautiful, it’s really one of the most beautiful I’ve seen of it’s kind and we’re very proud of it.”
Nominees don’t formally appear on the first night, but it has been a tradition for nominees to tease the delegates with an early appearance, showing up with a wave and a promise to return on the last night.
Trump said his wife, who has played a low-key role in the campaign, will be speaking about “her love of the country.” Melania Trump, who emigrated to the U.S. from Slovenia, “worked hard, she came into the country, she gained legal status and she’s a terrific person,” Trump said.
He predicted a “great speech” and that Melania Trump had “worked hard” on it.
Trump also used the Fox News appearance to bash Obama for the spate of recent police shootings, saying the country is more divided than he’s ever seen it.
“He’s been a great divider in this country,” Trump said of Obama, adding that he believes race relations “are as bad as they’ve ever been.”
When Obama speaks about the shootings, his words are “okay,” Trump said, but his body language is suspect, he suggested: "There's something going on. There’s something going on.”