Melania Trump has never been a particularly public first lady. Since her husband’s inauguration she’s steered clear of the limelight and ostensibly let the president get on with whatever world-threatening mission he fancied on a whim.
Of course, we can’t blame her for keeping a low profile. He’s given her little choice. Since her husband’s election, Melania’s had to deal with allegations he sexually harassed or assaulted no less than nineteen women. She’s heard him on tape, boasting about his right to “grab women by the pussy”, and just recently The Washington Post broke a story alleging Trump cheated on his wife of 12 years with porn star, Stormy Daniels and paid her off during the campaign.
So has Melania finally seen the light? Is she getting ready to skedaddle?
It’s what many commentators are predicting and after some uncharacteristic behaviour from the first lady the past few days, it’s well, plausible.
The New York Times reported that Melania made three patently independent decisions last week. She canceled a trip abroad with her husband, paid an unplanned visit to the Holocaust Memorial Museum and journeyed to Mar-a-Lago, booking into a spa. Speculation was soon rife as to whether she just needed to unwind, or whether she was deeply dissatisfied with her role as dutiful wife to global liability.
According to various US media outlets, reports of Donald’s $130,000 payoff to Stormy Daniels blindsided Melania, who understandably was furious. Her husband’s affair allegedly took place a decade ago, shortly after the couple’s wedding and the birth of their only son, Barron.
Given Melania’s public absence since the news broke, many were unsure whether she would even make an appearance at the president’s State of the Union address this week. The White House claimed she would attend, though her own spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham gave a less definitive response telling media, “that is the plan”.
She did attend of course, but her actions did not paint the picture of a woman willing to put up with anymore shit.
Emulating her husband’s nemesis, Hillary Clinton in a white pant suit, Melania looked coincidentally similar to the female Democratic congressional members, who last year protested Trump’s policies by wearing white (the colour of suffragettes) to his address of the Joint Session of Congress.
Melania also took a noticeable stance by choosing to ride in a separate motorcade to her husband, claiming her guests (who shared the vehicle) deserved her full attention. The same guests were treated to an independent event hosted by Melania, that offered more personal exposure to the honourees and the opportunity to recount their stories. Her husband’s event prior to the address, deemed insufficient by the first lady.
It’s not yet known whether the Trumps left the event together.
Naturally, Melania’s behaviour could symbolise nothing more than coincidence. It is entirely possible that she’s acutely aware of her husband’s many shortcomings. She may be fine with it.
On the flip side, she is young, smart and rich. She has a long life ahead, and more than that, a son to keep safe. Her husband’s volatility, his blatant disrespect for their marriage and for women more broadly, may bring forth an epiphany.
She’d be better off without him.