First Lady Jill Biden visited Delano, California this week to say a few words of praise to a group of local farmworkers in honor of civil rights activist César Chávez’s birthday, but her inclusion of the United Farm Workers’ motto ‘sí se puede’ has been earning her flack ever since for her mispronunciation of the final word. Clips of the event recorded by journalists have earned millions of views across Twitter, where a growing number quickly flocked to proclaim that former FLOTUS Melania Trump would never have made such an error and repeating her previously stated claim that she speaks five languages (Italian, French, German, Slovene, and English, a claim which is, per Snopes, unproven).
“Watching Jill Biden botch basic Spanish makes me miss Melania Trump, an extraordinary First Lady who is fluent in five languages,” Australian journalist Nick Adams tweeted, and others chimed in to agree. This being Twitter, however, the newfound support for Trump saw a fiery response from those who hadn’t considered her tenure as FLOTUS admirable, particularly compared to Biden’s thus far.
Trump critics made their views equally known on Twitter, taking hits at Melania’s “broken English” and the 2016 revelation that Melania had used several passages from a 2008 Michelle Obama speech in her own Republican National Convention speech.
It’s definitely an unfortunate moment for Dr. Biden. But whether or not Melania Trump in fact spoke more languages than her is irrelevant, not just because she’s out of office, but because we never heard her use her multilingual abilities to try and connect with more Americans. It’s all well and good to say she can, but why didn’t she? Jill Biden gave a very bad first attempt — but she has four years to try and get better. We hope she will.
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