Melania Trump makes low-profile return to campaign trail with LGBT fundraiser

Melania Trump makes low-profile return to campaign trail with LGBT fundraiser

Melania Trump has returned to the campaign trail to support Donald Trump’s 2024 bid to win back the White House, in an understated at-home event in stark contrast to her husband’s loud, bombastic style.

On Saturday night (20 April), the former first lady hosted a fundraiser for the Log Cabin Republicans at her Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Florida.

The group describes itself as “the nation’s largest Republican organisation dedicated to representing LGBT conservatives and allies” in support of “​​limited government, strong national defence, free markets, low taxes, personal responsibility, and individual liberty”.

Ms Trump has long-running ties to the collective and was presented with an award at its 2021 gala dinner at Mar-a-Lago while Mr Trump himself addressed its 2022 gathering at the club.

According to Politico, the event’s host committee includes Republican donors Saul Fox and Amanda Schumacher and Richard Grenell – who served as the 45th president’s ambassador to Germany and acting director of national intelligence — as well as Elizabeth Ailes and Deborah Magowan, the widows of Fox News CEO Roger Ailes and San Francisco Giants owner Peter Magowan respectively.

Mr Grenell, the first openly gay member of a presidential cabinet, posted pictures of the event to his Instagram account, describing Ms Trump as “an American treasure” and “electric”.

As of Sunday afternoon, there were few details available about the Mar-a-Lago event bar Mr Grenell’s post and a tweet from Ms Trump that said little specific about the group, its goals, or the Trump campaign.

She wrote: “As we look toward the future and the challenges that lie ahead, we must come together around the principles of liberty, justice, and patriotism. By uniting in our common goals, we can create a brighter and more promising future for all.”

Attendee Bill White posted on X: “Last night we attended a sold out event at Mar a Lago raising well in excess of $1 million for @LogCabinGOP. Our great former and future First Lady Melania Trump was our featured guest of honor.”

“Mrs. @MELANIATRUMP  joined our dear friend former acting DNI/Ambassador @RicGrenell to announce the launch of the single most important and unprecedented gay and lesbian voter outreach initiative of any Republican presidential nominee in US political history.”

Later, a video emerged of Mr Grenell’s introduction of Ms Trump and the opening part of her remarks to guests.

As Ms Trump charmed the crowd at Mar-a-Lago, the former president meanwhile was scheduled to attend a rally in North Carolina but had to pull out at the last minute due to poor weather conditions. Instead, he sent an audio message to attendees.

Ahead of her event on Saturday, Ms Trump gave a rare interview to Fox News Digital urging the country to “unite” as the 2024 campaign heats up and her husband faces his hush money trial in New York.

“We must unite in our effort to establish a society where equality is the everyday experience of every American,” Ms Trump said. “Individual freedom provides a unifying set of principles, and ultimately establishes our American way.”

She added that when America succeeds, it “blossoms into a magnificent place where everyone can practice their beliefs, share new ideas, and express individualism — this is when we are our best”.

In his remarks to Fox News ahead of the Mar-a-Lago fundraiser, Mr Grenell said: “If you work hard and have a little bit of luck and God’s grace, you can do anything you want in America regardless of your skin colour, socio-economic situation, or sexual orientation. We want what every American wants, to be treated equally not differently.”

He added that the Republicans have become “increasingly welcoming of gay conservatives over the last 20 years”.

“But we made the most progress when Donald Trump and Melania Trump moved into the White House,” he claimed. “Gays and lesbians are no longer reflexively leftist.”

The former first lady shies away from the spotlight and is rarely seen in public. She is not expected to attend court in support of her husband.

Ms Trump had been almost entirely absent from Mr Trump’s campaign events until earlier this month.

She was spotted on Easter Sunday after lunch with their son Barron. On 6 April, she attended a fundraiser with Mr Trump at the Palm Beach home of hedge fund manager John Paulson, which the former president claimed raked in $50m. She also appeared beside Mr Trump in March to vote in the Florida primary.

“She’s a private person, a great person, a very confident person, and she loves our country very much. At the appropriate time – she’ll be out there,” Mr Trump told NBC’s Meet the Press in September.

Asked what she would be working on if she became first lady again, Ms Trump told Fox News Digital: “The safety and well-being of American families remains my top priority.”

She added that it’s “essential we provide the highest level of care to our next generation, to ensure they not only thrive but reach their full potential”.

In private comments, she has called Mr Trump’s hush money trial “a disgrace” and said it’s comparable to election interference according to The New York Times.