First Lady Melania Trump stepped out to perform her civic duty on Election Day in Palm Beach, Fl. — and was the only person at the Morton and Barbara Mandel Recreation Center not wearing a mask.
"It’s Election Day, so I wanted to come here to vote today for the election," the first lady, 50, said when reporters asked why she hadn't voted with her husband, President Donald Trump, 74, last week.
After she cast her vote, Mrs. Trump left the building accompanied by the Palm Beach supervisor of elections, Wendy Sartory Link.
Waving and smiling, Mrs. Trump told reporters that she was feeling "great." The affirmation comes just a month after she announced that she had been diagnosed with COVID-19, as had her husband and their 14-year-old son, Barron. (The trio has since recovered.)
"As too many Americans have done this year, @potus & I are quarantining at home after testing positive for COVID-19," Mrs. Trump tweeted at the time (referring to the President of the United States as 'potus'). "We are feeling good & I have postponed all upcoming engagements. Please be sure you are staying safe & we will all get through this together."
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All eyes have been on the Trump family as Election Day brings an end to the president's combative reelection bid, which flagrantly defied mask-wearing, social distancing and other scientific and medical protocols for mitigating the spread of COVID-19. With politics exacerbating pandemic and racial tensions across the country, Tuesday's election results may be just as historically fraught. President Trump has sowed doubt about the election process for months and refused to commit to a peaceful transition of power should his opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, prevail.
While not always physically at his side, Mrs. Trump has supported her husband politically. At a Pennsylvania re-election rally last week, the first lady said Democrats were bad role models for children, a raised eyebrow from critics noting that President Trump has led one of the most vitriolic, crude and bullying campaigns—and White Houses—in modern U.S. history.
"Children watching and learning about politics in our country deserved a better display of political responsibility and respect for our sacred institutions," said Mrs. Trump, while calling the president's impeachment last December over his Ukraine scandal a "sham."
The speech was the first Mrs. Trump has made as part of the 2020 election campaign. During her plea to voters, the first lady mainly addressed the COVID-19 pandemic, the severity of which her husband has routinely denied even after he caught the virus himself. (His wife and youngest son recovered at home, but the president was sick enough to be sent to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for three days. While there, he received supplemental oxygen and experimental therapies not then available to the average American.)
"Like many of you, I have experienced the firsthand effects of COVID-19, not only as a patient, but as a worried mother and wife," Mrs. Trump said. "I know there are many people who have lost loved ones or know people who have been forever impacted by this silent enemy."
After the president's diagnosis, he was immediately lambasted because he has spent months lying about the true dangers of the pandemic, downplaying it as little more than the flu, publicly undermining health officials' advice, and insisting dozens and dozens of times that the virus would simply "go away."