Donald Trump's Wife Melania Opens Up About Husband's Presidential Run, Criticism

Melania and Donald Trump - H 2015

"I encouraged him because I know what he will do and what he can do for America. He loves the American people and he wants to help them," Melania Trump told Barbara Walters in her first sit-down interview since her husband launched his presidential campaign.

Donald Trump's wife, Melania, is finally speaking out. In an interview with Barbara Walters set to air on 20/20 Friday night, Melania Trump talks about her involvement in her husband's presidential campaign, including why she hasn't appeared at events alongside her husband.

"It’s my choice not to be there," Melania Trump said in a preview of the Trumps' interview that aired on Friday's Good Morning America. "I support my husband 100 percent, but ... we have a 9-year-old son together, Barron, and I’m raising him. This is the age he needs a parent at home."

But that doesn't mean she hasn't been involved in her husband's campaign. Sitting next to each other in their palatial Manhattan home, the couple said they have an equal relationship, and she explained that she pushed for him to run and shares her "opinions" about the GOP debates.

"I encouraged him because I know what he will do and what he can do for America," she said. "He loves the American people and he wants to help them."

While she declined to reveal what sort of advice she'd given her husband, he was more forthcoming.

"She’s told me a couple of times during the debate, she was very happy with my performances, if you would want to call them a performance," Donald Trump said. "But she said, 'you could tone it down a little bit on occasion,' which I understand."

As for how she feels when her husband is criticized, Melania Trump called it "unpleasant ... but I know I can handle it."

She claimed the biggest misconception about her husband is "that he's nasty."

"He’s not," she said. "He has a big heart and [a] very warm heart. You see who he is on the campaign trail all the time and on television, and I think — you know America needs a strong leader and a tough leader and [he] knows what he’s doing."

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