The White House Rose Garden has been spruced up in time for its moment in the campaign spotlight. First lady Melania Trump will deliver her Republican National Convention speech Tuesday night from the garden. (Aug. 22)
First lady Melania Trump emerged from pandemic privacy Monday to appear in public outside the White House to open an art exhibit she commissioned from the nation’s children to mark the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment.
Standing in the sun in front of the black steel fence surrounding the White House, she was joined by about 30 of the young artists from the 50 states and the District of Columbia whose artworks were selected to represent their home states in the exhibit, “Building the Movement.”
“The ratification of the 19th Amendment and women’s right to vote was a turning point in the history of women’s rights in the United States and stood as an example to the world,” Trump said.
The 1920 amendment extended the right to vote to white American women; Black women did not receive full voting rights until 1964.
Trump said the art exhibit is intended to be a “platform for parents to engage with their children about the important conversation taking place around equality, giving young people an opportunity to learn and understand the history of the women’s suffrage movement.”
The pandemic has made the first lady, 50, an even more elusive figure than ever. Her public appearances trailed off to mostly inside-the-the White House photo ops or pictures of her, President Donald Trump and son Barron, 14, walking to and from helicopters on their way to weekend getaways.
Last week, she joined the president at a ceremony in the White House to sign a proclamation marking the centennial.
In her remarks for the art exhibit event, Trump promoted her husband’s administration’s policies regarding women voters. The first lady made it clear, in case there were still any doubters, she is part of the Trump team.
She said that “under our administration,” the child tax credit was doubled, women experienced some of the lowest rates of unemployment on record and the president put women in many senior administration positions.
“Since taking office, my husband and this administration have taken historic measures to empower and support women in the United States – and around the world,” she declared.
“We, as women, must continue using our greatest tool of empowerment – our voice,” she said. She encouraged everyone to vote “so that we may continue to build the brightest future for all of our children.”
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) August 24, 2020
One of attendees at the event was White House senior counselor Kellyanne Conway, who announced Sunday she’s quitting at the end of the month to spend more time with her four children. “How am I doing? I’m good. I make my own choices,” Conway told a White House pool reporter covering the event.
Also attending were second lady Karen Pence; the first lady’s chief of staff, Stephanie Grisham; Education Secretary Betsy DeVos; Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao; and a lively Marine Band.
None of the women wore face masks but many held masks in their hands. Most of the children and their parents wore masks, according to the pool report.
Trump announced the art project on Twitter in June, soliciting drawings from children between third and 12th grades depicting imagery related to the suffrage movement. Historic photographs depicting the near-century-long effort to ratify the 19th Amendment also will be included in the exhibit, parts of which were set up on Pennsylvania Avenue.
“It is these women and their brave actions that have provided strength and inspiration to so many mothers, daughters, and sisters who have stamped their own mark on our country, ensuring future generations of women have the ability to pursue their dreams,” Trump said.
More than 450 artworks from kids were submitted. Trump, the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission and the White House curator’s office chose the winners. The full exhibit will be available online.
After her remarks, Trump, who was wearing a sleeveless white dress with an orange lace print, walked among the exhibit to speak to the children, shaking hands and hugging one little girl, the pool reported.
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The children and their guardians accompanying them were tested for COVID-19 ahead of the event, according to a White House official, the pool report said.
Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/entertainment/celebrities/2020/08/24/melania-trump-opens-kids-art-exhibit-19th-amendment-voting-rights/3430439001/
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