Melania Trump Talks ‘Respect and Kindness’ at International Women’s Day Luncheon at the White House

First Lady Melania Trump hosted a luncheon at the White House in honor of International Women’s Day on Wednesday, March 8. While addressing the room full of invitation-only guests, FLOTUS spoke about kindness, tolerance, equality, the importance of education and women coming together to help each other out.

The former model, 46, wore a black sleeveless Ralph Lauren dress, seemingly missing the day’s “wear red” memo. 

Melania Trump
Melania Trump prepares to speak at a luncheon she was hosting to mark International Women's Day in the State Dining Room at the White House on March 8, 2017 in Washington, D.C. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

“As an immigrant myself, having grown up in a Communist society, I know all too well the value and importance of freedom and equal opportunity — ideals which this great nation was founded and has continued to strive towards throughout its history,” Trump said, according to her prepared remarks obtained by CNN from Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, senior adviser and chief strategist to FLOTUS.

Trump, who also spoke about “the brutal and terrifying incarnations of actual gender persecution,” such as sexual abuse and sex trafficking, additionally stressed the importance of female education. 

First lady Melania Trump
First Lady Melania Trump speaks at a luncheon she hosted to mark International Women's Day in the State Dining Room at the White House on March 8, 2017 in Washington, D.C. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

“I continue to firmly believe that education is the most powerful way to promote and ensure women’s rights. Together we will do this not only by striving for gender parity at all levels of education, but also by showing all children, and especially boys, that it is through empathy, respect and kindness that we achieve our collective potential,” she said. “Together with UN Women for Peace Associates, we can educate and reinforce the importance of tolerance and a society filled with inclusivity regardless of race, gender or culture.”

President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump, as well as White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Senator Susan Collins, second lady Karen Pence and her daughter, Charlotte Pence, and fashion designer Rachel Roy were also present at the luncheon.

President Trump and VP Mike Pence made a brief appearance at the event, which also featured, of course, lunch. According to CNN, guests enjoyed tomato mozzarella salad, thyme-brined chicken, spinach gnocchi and honeycrisp apple crostata and white wine.

FLOTUS’ next major event will be at the annual Easter Egg Roll at the White House on April 17. 

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