CLEVELAND — She is poised, and she is trying very hard, to the extent that you have to root for her in a way.
Early in the day, when she came onstage for a soundcheck in a white dress and flat shoes, she counted “one, two, three, four, five, six,” nervously.
“Thank you all so much,” she said, to a nearly empty arena.
Tonight she is prepared, however. She has high, nude-colored heels and a television-appropriate teal dress. She has long blonde hair extensions and shiny lip gloss. She is smiling widely, and she is laughing to lighten things. She wants to be charming, and in the end she nearly is.
“When I graduated from college a couple of months ago, I never expected to be here tonight addressing the country,” she told the audience that filled the arena at Republican convention.
“Like my father,” she said, “I never back down from challenges.”
With the exception of Barron, Trump’s 10-year-old son with his third wife, Melania, the Trump child heard from least is Tiffany, Donald’s second daughter with his second wife, the onetime exercise video instructor and recent Dancing With the Stars contestant Marla Maples.
Tiffany looks Trump-like, but she doesn’t look like a Trump the way that Don Jr., Eric, and Ivanka do.
Tiffany is a Trump in caricature, resembling most closely not her own flesh and blood, but the Saturday Night Live comedian Vanessa Polster Bayer’s impersonation of Miley Cyrus.
Which may be intentional.
In 2011, she released a pop song called “Like A Bird (feat. Sprite & Logic).” Sample lyrics include: “Diamonds are so shimmery / special things uncover me / You know what you say / Baby, baby, don’t you go / Everybody’s partying / obsessing over crazy things / I just want serenity / while living in a [inaudible].”
After her parents’ separation in 1997, Tiffany, who is 22 and just graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, grew up on the west coast with Maples.
In interviews preceding Trump’s candidacy, Maples often referred to herself as a “single mom.”
Tiffany is adamant, however, that her father has been an important and present figure in her life. She has increasingly been included in campaign events over the last several months, appearing onstage with the rest of the Trump clan on primary victory nights and on CNN’s special about them.
Even in a robotic staccato, she succeeded where Melania (or Michelle Obama, as it were) failed on Monday night: she provided somewhat humanizing details about the candidate.
During her remarks, she said she’s kept every report card throughout her life, because her father always wrote comments in the margins.
“I like to see the sweet notes he wrote on each of them,” she said.
She said a good testament to his character was his decision to support her after someone close to her died. “The first call I got, and I knew I would, was from my father.”