According to the Daily Mail, Melania wore a $4,220 pastel pink Emilio Pucci suit with a canary-yellow blouse and beige stilettos to address the crowd. “This award is reserved for those women around the world who have shown incredible courage and leadership in advocating for peace, justice, human rights, equality, and women’s empowerment,” said the 47-year-old.
She added, “As we recognize these incredible women, let us think for a moment about what courage truly is. Courage is the quality most needed in this world, yet it is often the hardest to find. Courage sets apart those who believe in higher calling and those who act on it. It takes courage not only to see wrong but strive to right it. Courage is what sets apart the heroes from the rest. It is equal parts bravery and nobility.”
Melania concluded, “In recognizing them, we stand for what is right. In telling their stories, we can teach young women and girls all over the world what it means to have courage and to be a hero. Their examples define courage.”
According to People, Melania honored 10 women, including Aiman Omarova, a lawyer from Kazakhstan who fights against sexual abuse crimes; Feride Rushiti, the founder of the Kosovo Center for the Rehabilitation of Torture Victims; and Afghanistan filmmaker Roya Sadat, who advocates for women’s rights.
Melania’s speech occurred amid explosive rumors that President Trump was unfaithful during their 13-year marriage. On Thursday, while speaking to Anderson Cooper, former Playboy model Karen McDougal issued an apology to the first lady for her alleged 10-month affair with the president in 2006, one year after he married Melania.
According to NBC, earlier this week McDougal filed a lawsuit against American Media, Inc., which owns the National Enquirer. McDougal claims the company paid her $150,000 during Trump’s presidential campaign for her story, which didn’t run. McDougal is asking to “invalidate” the contract.
“AMI lied to me, made empty promises and repeatedly intimidated and manipulated me,” McDougal said in a statement to USA Today. “I just want the opportunity to set the record straight and move on with my life, free from this company, its executives, and its lawyers.”
The president is also involved in another lawsuit, filed by former adult star Stormy Daniels, whose lawyer tweeted a photo on Tuesday of her taking a 2011 lie detector test — which she passed— admitting to having unprotected sex with Trump.
People on Twitter wondered whether the first lady was an appropriate choice to deliver a speech on courage.
@FLOTUS You're not being courageous by staying with your cheating, lying, bullying husband. Quite the opposite. The courageous thing would be to stand up to him. So please, don't speak to women about courage. #Melania #trump
— JudyK (@portside27) March 23, 2018
Today at a State Dept. ceremony, Melania Trump honored "International Women of Courage." Wonder if any of them tried to give her the courage to leave Donald.
— Janice Hough (@leftcoastbabe) March 23, 2018
Melania Trump spoke today saying “it takes courage not only to see wrong but to strive to right it”.
Excuse me for possibly being harsh but where does she get off talking about “courage and righting wrongs” when she is married to the most lascivious and malicious person EVER!
— Macinca19 (@Macinca19) March 23, 2018
And God knows it takes courage to be Melania Trump. pic.twitter.com/VpDo7qBing
— Harold Itzkowitz (@HaroldItz) March 9, 2018
Today #MelaniaTrump talked about courage to women, she should go by her own words and she herself should find courage to leave her husband for cheating on her.
— gk707 (@gklemen707) March 23, 2018
In 2017, when Melania spoke at the International Women of Courage ceremony, people on Twitter called her participation “ironic.”
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