Hollywood star Bette Midler learned the hard way not to attack first lady Melania Trump over her ability to speak English.
What's the background?
The first lady headlined the second night of the Republican National Convention, delivering a well-received speech in which she urged Americans to unify while making the case that her husband, President Donald Trump, is the better of the 2020 presidential candidates.
"We all know Donald Trump makes no secrets about how he feels about things. Whether you like it or not, you always know what he's thinking, and that is because he is an authentic person who loves this country and its people," Mrs. Trump said.
What did Midler say?
While live-tweeting through the RNC speeches, Midler called the first lady an "illegal alien" — and mocked her ability to speak English.
"#beBest is back! A UGE bore! She can speak several words in a few languages. Get that illegal alien off the stage!" Midler said.
#beBest is back! A UGE bore! She can speak several words in a few languages. Get that illegal alien off the stage!— bettemidler (@bettemidler) 1598409778.0
She followed it up with, "Oh, God. She still can't speak English."
Oh, God. She still can’t speak English.— bettemidler (@bettemidler) 1598410100.0
Later, Midler compared Melania to a mail-order bride. "I'm surprised Trump wants to destroy the #PostOffice. He got all his wives from it," Midler said.
What was the response?
Midler's comments, especially about Melania's English-speaking abilities, triggered immediate backlash. That tweet in particular has received more than 50,000 comments as of Wednesday morning.
People were angry that Midler so callously attacked Melania, who was born in Slovenia and reportedly speaks six languages: Slovenian, English, Serbian, Italian, German, and French.
Midler was accused of racism and xenophobia:
- "There is no one as racist and xenophobic as the tolerant left. To think that when I was growing up in Africa I fiercely admired you and many others who now are showing how low and hateful they can be. I'm ashamed for you," one person said.
- "As a Mexican immigrant I am very offended at your prejudice! My hard working parents with accents love and value this country! We put everything into what we do and do not expect to be treated unfairly because we may not sound like you ! Practice what you preach!" another person said.
- "Oh hey look everyone... a washed up, dumpy old lady racist," another person responded.
- "She speaks 6 languages, English is one of them. How about you?" another person said.
- "You are the epitome of everything you hate," another person pointed out.
- "Attacking an immigrant because of her accent. The loving and tolerant left," another person responded.
- "I'd rather listen to Melania speak than listen to you sing," another person mocked.
- "No, she's just speaking with an accent. You, however, are a fool in any language," Ben Shapiro said.
- "An immigrant woman, who doesn't have English as her first language, just got up on on a stage and was so gracious that she refused to attack classless people like you and instead focused on hope and positivity. I'll take her accent over your ghoulishness any day," another person said.