It was the "most beautiful moment" Donald Trump has had on the gruelling campaign for the top job in the United States. The brash billionaire said so himself, US media reported.
Mr Trump, known for his take-no-prisoners, populist rhetoric, had an emotional moment at a rally in Wisconsin on Tuesday when a former Miss Wisconsin Melissa Young, who says she is suffering from an incurable illness, thanked the billionaire developer for helping her and her young son financially, CNN reported.
"I wanted to thank you," Young said as she stood up in the crowd at the campaign event in Janesville, Wisconsin, which is the next state to host a Republican Party primary, on April 5.
"Because through you and your organisations, my son, who is Mexican-American, seven years old... and just being able to stand on that stage with you in 2005, and the outpouring of love that came from that ultimately provided my son when he graduates high school with a full ride to college."
"I remember that. Such a beautiful woman," said Trump, who has said the US should build a wall to keep out Mexican illegal immigrants and that Muslims should be banned entering the United States.
Young says she is suffering from autonomic failure, which causes parts of the nervous system to shut down, and that the disease is incurable. She repeated multiple times that her son is a Mexican-American and that Trump's generosity helped him.
She said when she was hospitalised and had signed a Do Not Resuscitate directive, Trump wrote her a letter in which he called her "the bravest woman I know" and promised to watch over her son Jack.
"We're going to be watching your boy," Trump said on Tuesday. "But you're going to hopefully be around, and you're not going to have to have anyone watching. Believe me, those doctors are going to be so wrong."
Trump, who was visibly touched, then made his way into the crowd to hug Young.
"She was so unbelievable yesterday," Trump said on Wednesday on a TV programme when he was asked about the moment. "There was nothing so beautiful as what she did. It's the most beautiful moment I have had since campaigning for president."
Despite his success in statewide Republican Party nominating contests to date, Trump has had trouble winning support from women voters in his quest to win the presidential election in November. He has called women "fat pigs", "slobs" and "disgusting animals", and most recently was castigated in the media for posting an unflattering photo of closest rival Ted Cruz’s wife next to a photo of his own wife, an ex-model.
This week he drew more flak for saying there “have to be some form of punishment” for women who have abortions if the procedure were outlawed in the US.
According to a new poll from Marquette University Law School, 40 per cent of likely voters there said they supported Cruz, compared with 30 per cent for Trump. Seventy per cent of registered voters polled said they have an unfavourable view of Trump, compared to about 22 per cent that have a favourable view.