When Donald Trump was inaugurated president of the United States, Melania Trump didn’t exactly drop everything to move to Washington immediately. Like other first ladies, Melania seems to have her own agenda. But unlike other First Ladies, Melania Trump doesn’t seem to have placed much of a focus on shaping policy, championing causes, or enacting change during her time in the White House. In fact, many first ladies proved very influential during their tenure.
Researchers at Siena College, C-SPAN, and the White House Historical Association created surveys for scholars and historians to rank first ladies on a variety of influence indicators — and to reveal which first ladies were the most influential women in the White House.
Read on to check out the most influential first ladies in American history. (And don’t miss the chance to see how Melania Trump stacks up on page 16!)
15. Nancy Reagan
During her time as first lady, Nancy Reagan led a campaign against drugs called “Just Say No.” She helped to establish thousands of “Just Say No” clubs across the country. And she went on speaking tours across the country.
Unfortunately, not everybody agrees that Reagan’s signature achievement has actually had a positive legacy. Think Progress notes that Just Say No — as well as Ronald Reagan’s War on Drugs, of which it became emblematic — didn’t actually work.
Next: This first lady was accused of running the country.