Donald Trump's marriage to Melania Trump is one of the most mysterious and highly-speculated aspects of this unprecedented administration, and what details we have only make the love story between the former reality star and model all the more interesting. Trump is only the second Commander-in-Chief in U.S. history to have been divorced before assuming his office. The other was Ronald Reagan — perhaps the president whose story most closely relates to that of Trump, as he was an actor before getting into politics.
In general, American leaders have had lifelong partners both before and after their presidency. They have tended to be like-minded women from the same highly-educated, philanthropy-oriented political sphere as the presidents themselves. Notably, Melania, 50, emigrated from Yugoslavia as a college student and worked as a career fashion model before meeting Trump and marrying him in 2005 — when she was 34, and he was 58. That unorthodoxy has leveled the field for all kinds of speculation about Melania — good and bad. In a 2018 profile in The New York Times, journalist Maggie Haberman described Melania as "a Rorschach test for public perceptions of Mr. Trump's White House: People tend to see in her what they already believe about the president."
"To conservative supporters of the president, she is a quietly loyal helpmate," Haberman went on. "To Mr. Trump's critics, she is an enabler trapped in a gilded cage, occasionally breaking out to express a divergent opinion or make a high-profile gaffe before retreating again into silence." The truth undoubtedly lies somewhere in the middle for Melania, but it is admittedly hard to pin down. Here is a look at some of the clearest reports about the first lady and the president's marriage.
"The strongest voice in the president's life"
The first lady is plagued by rumors that she is secretly living away from the White House. While many believe that she and the president are estranged, and only stay together to keep up appearances, the Times report at least establishes that the couple spends time together. A former White House official even said that "Mr. and Mrs. Trump give the impression that they like one another, but their rapport is not particularly warm." More surprisingly, insiders said that Melania has more influence over the president than most people think. They called her the "strongest voice in the president's life."prevnext
To many, the most interesting fact from the report will likely be that Melania has a separate bedroom from the president. Sources added that the two always book separate hotel suites when they travel. Still, those close to Melania insisted that Melania lives in the White House residence full time, with a monthly trip to New York and occasional visits to her parents.prevnext
"I REALLY DON'T CARE, DO U?"
“I REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U?” written on the back of Melania’s jacket, refers to the Fake News Media. Melania has learned how dishonest they are, and she truly no longer cares!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 21, 2018
The Times report took particular care to address the inflammatory jacket the first lady wore in summer 2018 while visiting the detention facilities for illegal immigrants separated from their families. It noted that Melania was the only senior administration official to visit more than one of these facilities, during the massive public outcry against them. The article also shed some light on the meaning behind the jacket, on the back of which were the words "I REALLY DON'T CARE, DO U?" The note infuriated some and amused others. The president himself claimed that the the jacket was not directed at the detained children, but at the news media.
In truth, Melania's staff told reporters that the jacket was meant for anyone who though to criticize the first lady for visiting the immigrants. "No one tells the first lady what to do," said her communications director, Stephanie Grisham. "Our office has nothing to do with what clothing choices she makes and this situation was no different."prevnext
Of course, the rumors of tension between the couple are not totally unfounded. Insiders said that President Trump felt truly guilty as reports of his affair with adult film star Stormy Daniels swept the news cycle. He was reportedly deeply concerned with Melania's reaction to the story, and felt bad that she herself faced criticism for his behavior.prevnext
Sources felt confident in saying that Melania was working hard to change her husband's health. The first lady has reportedly been working closely with the kitchen staff, planning and preparing meals for President Trump. Unfortunately, those same insiders said that there was not much that could prevent the president from having two scoops of ice cream before bed.prevnext
The report contained more information than has ever been published on Melania's "Be Best" campaign. The social outreach program has an ambiguous aim, and has been roundly mocked for being much smaller in scale and less precise than those of previous first ladies. While Michelle Obama and Laura Bush each had staffs of 25 or more people, Melania reportedly has just 10 people working in the East Wing, and they have been specifically directed to work independently from the West Wing. Sources also said that the president himself encouraged Melania to distance herself from the cyber-bullying aspect of the campaign, admitting that it would be somewhat hypocritical.prevnext
People close to Melania said that there was no doubt she is "far more relaxed outside the presence of her husband than when he is around." While it confirms lots of speculation, that fact could be used as ammunition for any number of theories and agendas, as it so often has been.prevnext
Melania's daily routine
The report broke down Melania's daily routine. She rarely leaves the residence, insiders say. They added that she does regular Pilates workouts, and spends a lot of time consulting with the White House Historical Association on the renovation and upkeep of the residence.prevnext
As for her social life, Melania reportedly keeps in close touch with her family and a few old friends in New York. Her parents and her sister came to America through the same chain immigration policy that the president is vehemently outspoken against, and she sees them often. Melania's parents live nearby in Maryland while her sister resides in New York. Insiders say that the first lady's texts are riddled with emojis.prev