Here’s How Melania Trump Has Responded to All the Trump Family’s Biggest Scandals
Melania Trump is an elusive figure. Though she’s one of the most famous women in the world, she’s also very secretive. And for that reason, she’s one of the most compelling members of the Trump family. The president’s children have responded to his myriad personal and political dramas with unflinching support.
On the other hand, Melania has remained silent about many of the bombshell scandals the Trumps have faced. But the first lady has, from time to time, let us know how she feels about all this controversy, from her not-so-thrilled reaction to her husband’s presidential win (page 5) and what she had to say about the Stormy Daniels drama (page 7) .
1. Grab ‘em by the supportive spouse
In 2016, just a few weeks before the election, someone leaked a tape of Trump and Billy Bush behind the scenes on Access Hollywood. In it, they spoke lewdly about women. And Trump, in particular, bragged that his stardom meant he could do whatever he wanted when he was attracted to someone, even “grab ‘em by the p*ssy.”
But while many Americans condemned the president for his misogynistic and violent approach toward woman, Melania stood by her husband. Well, sort of. On Oct. 8, 2016, she released a statement regarding Trump’s lewd comments:“The words my husband used are unacceptable and offensive to me. This does not represent the man I know. He has the heart and mind of a leader. I hope people will accept his apology, as I have, and focus on the important issues facing our nation in the world.”
Her support seemed muted in her original statement. But she reiterated her support in an Oct. 17 interview. She told Anderson Cooper she felt Trump’s grab ‘em approach was just “boy talk” and implied that Bush was to blame for “egging” Trump.
Next: Melanie was in the hot seat during a Trump family immigration scandal.
2. Melania responded swiftly to reports that she worked in the U.S. illegally
A cornerstone of Trump’s presidency has been stricter immigration standards. So when Politico reported that Melania modeled in the U.S. before she had the right work visa, his detractors were quick to point out the Trump family’s hypocrisy.
For at least a whole news cycle, it seemed like another scandal was brewing, this time with Melania at the center. But the soon-to-be first lady, who rarely uses social media, tweeted a response to the reports.
She said, “In recent days there has been a lot of inaccurate reporting and misinformation concerning my immigration status back in 1996. Let me set the record straight: I have at all times been in full compliance with the immigration laws of this country. Period. Any allegation to the contrary is simply untrue.”
Then, a few weeks later, she shared a letter from her attorney with her followers. According to Melania, this document showed “with 100% certainty” that she followed the United States’ legal immigration process.
Next: Melania condemned violence while her family took a more controversial tone.
3. Tweeting tolerance
In August 2017, violent protests erupted in Charlottesville, Va. A clash between alt-right marchers and counter-protestors left dozens injured, one dead, and many Americans reeling. Trump made headlines for days following his controversial response to the violence.
But before he had a chance to weigh in, Melania took to Twitter with a somber but hopeful message. “Our country encourages freedom of speech, but let’s communicate w/o hate in our hearts. No good comes from violence.”
For most, Melania’s comments felt like a more direct condemnation. Which, many believed, meant she did more than her husband to stand up against the alt-right’s violence. However, she never offered a follow-up statement as to whether she agreed with her husband that there was wrongdoing on both sides.
Next: Melania might want to start her activism efforts at home.
4. Who’s the bully?
Trump’s frequent Twitter rants have been a near-constant source of scandal for the White House. He’s been labeled a bully for the way he singles out his opponents and roasts them online. Which is why Melania’s choice of campaign as first lady has raised some eyebrows.
She’s chosen to focus on cyberbullying, an admittedly widespread issue in our digital age. She even gave a speech advocating for those most vulnerable at the United Nations.
In a weird way, it might seem like this is Melania’s way of telling her husband to tone it down. But if it is, she’ll have to be less subtle – because while she’s advocating for the golden rule, she’s never addressed her husband’s own bullying behavior.
Next: Melania’s response to her husband’s shocking election is telling.
5. Pledging allegiance
Virtually no one expected Trump to win the presidency in 2016. His campaign was plagued by shake-ups and scandals. And he’s faced even more controversy since, as questions about Russia’s role have overshadowed the Trump family.
For her part, on the surface, Melania made it clear she was proud to be first lady, despite her husband’s shocking victory. And she’s performed her duties as FLOTUS, despite the constant drama surrounding their first year in D.C. But numerous reports have hinted that Melania was miserable to learn that Trump won. And she isn’t much happier now that she’s living in her new reality.
Melania will almost certainly continue to support the Trump family, come what may. But there are signs that she would have been much more content with a different result on election night.
Here’s how Melania responded when the RNC didn’t go as well as planned.
6. Hope and (not much) change
Melania found herself enveloped in yet another scandal at the 2016 Republican National Convention. Instead of sharing her words about her love for her husband and her country, she shared Michelle Obama’s. Many parts of Melania’s July 18 speech were eerily similar to the former first lady’s 2008 convention speech, including passages that matched Obama’s earlier speech verbatim.
Melania didn’t respond after the speech. But the Trump campaign did release a statement that seemingly reflected her feelings about the plagiarism accusations. Communications adviser Jason Miller said:
In writing her beautiful speech, Melania’s team of writers took notes on her life’s inspirations, and in some instances included fragments that reflected her own thinking. Melania’s immigrant experience and love for America shone through in her speech, which made it such success.
Two days later, that account was called into question when campaign staffer Meredith McIver reported that she had written Melania’s speech. While we’ll probably never know for sure how it all went down, there is one thing Melania apparently wanted us to know about the snafu: She was, apparently, a big fan of Michelle Obama before she took over her job.
Next: Melania weathered the latest scandalous storm in private.
7. A storm cloud over her marriage
In January 2018, porn star Stormy Daniels publicly revealed that she and Trump had an affair in 2006, shortly after Melania gave birth to Barron. Daniels also alleges that Trump paid her off so she would keep it a secret.
Multiple news outlets reported Melania was “furious” and “blindsided” about Daniels. The first lady was slow to respond to the scandalous story. She did seem to send a signal that she wasn’t pleased when she skipped Trump’s scheduled visit to Davos (she went to Florida and the Holocaust Museum instead).
But according to her aides, everything is totally fine in the FLOTUS’ world. On Jan. 26, 2018, her communications’ director said, “[Melania] is focused on her family & role as FLOTUS — not the unrealistic scenarios being peddled daily by the fake news.
In other words, we’ll probably never know what Melania really felt about the latest reports of her husband’s infidelity — or the rest of the scandals he’s faced, for that matter.
Next: Melania’s spokeswoman swiftly shoots down an attention-grabbing ex.
8. Ivana Trump declared herself first lady
When Donald Trump’s first wife, Ivana, referred to herself the “real first lady,” Melania was once again involved in drama. Her spokeswoman said Ivana’s comments were “attention seeking and self-serving noise.”
Though sources maintain Ivana and Donald are still friendly following their divorce, this particular comment seemed to bother Melania more than others.
Next: Melania smiles when she can, but is she unhappy?
9. Her constant look of misery
Even if Melania is playing her part as first lady, her face can’t hide her true feelings. Body language expert Patti Wood revealed to Cosmopolitan just how much Melania has changed since her husband became a presidential candidate.
Past photographs reveal Melania being expressive and joyful, but since the start of her husband’s campaign, her demeanor has shifted. Her body language can regularly be described as “stiff,” as put on display during her first dance with Donald at the inaugural ball.
The hashtag #FreeMelania even began trending on Twitter after her infamous look of disdain on Inauguration Day. She can be seen smiling in an encouraging manner at her husband, but once he turns away, her face turns to a miserable scowl. Wood described the look as “sadness mixed with a little bit of anger.”
Wood explained that since becoming first lady, Melania has become someone “whose shoulders go down, whose mouth turns down, who gives furtive, down-gazing looks, and who is tense, tight, small, and unhappy.”
Next: The swat seen around the world.
10. Swatting away Donald’s hand
When Melania swatted away Donald’s hand on the tarmac at Tel Aviv in May 2017, we doubt she suspected the media frenzy that would follow. A video of the first lady not just avoiding the president’s hand-holding, but slapping his hand away, went viral on Twitter.
Wood used her body-language expertise to devise that it could have been “a further sign of how the Trumps’ relationship has changed since becoming the First Couple,” according to The Independent.
Additional reporting by Barri Segal.
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