‘I was wrong’: Bette Midler backtracks after being branded a ‘racist’ for mocking Melania Trump’s accent and calling her an ‘illegal immigrant’ during First Lady’s RNC speech
- Bette Midler called Melania Trump an ‘illegal alien’ and mocked the First Lady’s accent during a Twitter rant on Tuesday
- She was widely criticized and dubbed ‘racist’ for what was perceived to be a xenophobic personal attack
- Midler walked back her comments on Wednesday, saying she was ‘wrong’
- The Beaches actress has previously been involved in a spat with President Trump; last year he called the star a ‘washed up psycho’
Bette Midler says she was ‘wrong’ to mock Melania Trump in social media posts she shared while watching the Republican National Convention.
On Thursday night, the award-winning performer, 74, sparked a furore by poking fun at the First Lady’s accent as she addressed the nation in a televised speech.
‘Oh, God. She still can’t speak English,’ Middler quipped on Twitter, after initially writing: ‘#BeBest is back! A UGE bore! She can speak several words in a few languages. Get that illegal alien off the stage!’
After widespread backlash, the Beaches actress has now walked back her remarks, while stopping short of issuing an apology to the First Lady herself.
‘Well, all hell has broken loose because I said Melania ‘still can’t speak English’ last night. I was wrong to make fun of her accent. America is made up people who speak with all kinds of accents, and they are all welcomed always,’ Midler wrote on Wednesday.
Bette Midler says she was ‘wrong’ to mock Melania Trump in social media posts she shared while watching the Republican National Convention
Melania Trump (pictured during her speech) is a US citizen who emigrated from Slovenia in the 1990s
After widespread backlash, the Beaches actress has now walked back her remarks, while stopping short of issuing an apology to the First Lady herself
After her initial attack on Melania, who delivered a widely-praised address at the RNC on Tuesday night, Midler was immediately branded a ‘racist’ and ‘xenophobe’.
Even fierce critics of Donald Trump said Melania’s accent was not a ‘legitimate reason’ to criticize the First Lady.
Piers Morgan parodied Midler’s words by saying: ‘Oh, God. Bette Midler’s a racist.’
Republican Senate candidate Mark Curran was among those who called the remark ‘xenophobic’, while CNN’s Kyle Feldscher labelled it ‘pathetic’.
‘One would think that someone who has performed in front of crowds her entire career would be impressed with someone making a speech to millions of people in a tongue that is not her first language,’ Feldscher said.
Conservative activist JD Rucker condemned Midler’s remark by saying: ‘Hollywood and the Democratic Party truly hate America.
‘They hate patriots. They hate conservatives. But there’s one thing they hate more than anything else.
‘They hate minorities and immigrants who do not fall in line with their abusive ideology.’
Midler said that Melania Trump ‘can’t speak English’ while the first lady delivered her remarks at the White House on Tuesday
Piers Morgan was among those who lambasted Bette Midler’s tweet, calling her a ‘racist’
Even those who fiercely oppose the president – and blame Melania for helping to spread the ‘birther’ conspiracy theory against Barack Obama – said the attack on her accent was inappropriate.
Writer Joanna Schroeder said: ‘Of all things to criticize Melania for – being a racist birther, marrying the worst president in US history, supporting all his horrific policies, her offensive jacket…
‘You choose this? Furthering the idea that having an accent is a bad thing in America? Let’s not.’
Stefanie Williams said: ‘Bad, bad, bad take. There are a million legitimate reasons to criticize Melania. Her accent/ethnic background is NOT one of them. Ever.’
Washington Post columnist Megan McArdle said: ‘People who learn a foreign language as adults almost never lose their accents.
‘In other news, a public figure, presumably left-leaning, thinks ‘Learn English’ is a devastating riposte to an immigrant giving a speech at a convention.’
Stephen Sanchez of CBS News said: ‘Tweets like this are not acceptable. You can debate the substance without attacking the person.’
The First Lady spoke about her migrant background in her RNC speech last night, telling the audience that ‘I was able to achieve my own American dream’.
Midler came under heavy criticism from both right and left for her remark about Melania Trump
The Slovenian-born former fashion model moved to the US in the 1990s and was granted American citizenship in 2006.
‘Growing up as a young child in Slovenia, which was under communist rule at the time, I always heard about an amazing place called America – a land that stood for freedom and opportunity,’ she said.
‘As I grew older it became my goal to move to the United States and follow my dream of working in the fashion industry.
‘My parents worked very hard to ensure our family could not only leave and prosper in America, but also contribute to a nation that allows for people to arrive with a dream and make it reality.’
In her speech she also called for an end to what she called ‘violence and looting’ during the months of race protests after the death of George Floyd.
‘Instead of tearing things down, let’s reflect on our mistakes. Be proud of our evolution and look to our way forward,’ she said.
‘Every day let us remember that we are one nation under God, and we need to cherish one another.’
Bette Midler was previously branded a ‘washed up psycho’ by the president himself after posting a fake Trump quote on Twitter.
Midler shared a quote in which Trump supposedly ridiculed Republican voters, a meme which went viral in 2015 and 2016 but has long since been debunked.
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