Is Melania Secretly Bringing Trump Down?
Poor Melania. Few honestly believe that the former model and third wife to President Donald Trump really expected – much less wanted – to be the First Lady of the United States. Her constant melancholia framed by stoic smiles and her refusal to move out of Trump Tower and into the White House makes a strong case that she would much rather be wearing a pink pussy hat than standing at the elbow of the commander-in-chief.
But after more than a decade of marriage to an overbearing and obviously volatile husband, especially one who claims “we literally never have an argument,” Melania has no doubt found her own subtle ways of flexing her own power. Could it be she is secretly undermining the new president the only way she knows how?
Refusing to move into the White House after the inauguration was an obvious break with tradition that brought immediate scrutiny onto the Trumps, but it also allowed the First Lady some breathing space away from a domineering partner. In the weeks that followed it has become apparent it is a distance Melania has no interest in closing. She has hired almost no staff in D.C., has stayed uninvolved in all but the most unavoidable of First Lady duties, and appears to avoid as many public events and ambassadorial roles as she can, such as touring with the wives of foreign dignitaries.
While some argue that this is yet another example of the Trump family’s lack of respect for the role of president and the proprieties and dignities of the office, I can’t help but think that Melania is actually using her position to provoke her husband and show just how woefully under-qualified and unprepared he is for the job at hand. No one knows better than the person who lives with you exactly how to bring out your best side – and your worst – and Melania just may be subtly pushing all the right buttons to expose his complete lack of self-control.
Take the recent Governors Ball, the first soiree for the new First Lady and debut of her event planning skills. In a rare public statement before the evening, Mrs. Trump warned that it would be a politics-free zone. “Tonight, we come together as one Nation, leaving political labels and partisan interests behind,” she announced, knowing full well that avoiding partisan trolling was like asking the president not to tweet at two in the morning. And of course, he simply couldn’t resist, praising his own anti-immigration policies and trashing Obamacare in a room full of red and blue state governors.
Was Melania purposefully providing an opening for her husband to make himself look bad? Is she a political pawn and window dressing for the 45th President, or has she been scheming on her own to throw whatever rocks she can into the gears of his policy machinations?
The Governors Ball wasn’t the only incident where she showed her husband up as a hypocrite. In a rare public appearance the First Lady visited Children’s Hospital in Washington, D.C., where she visited patients, toured the hospital and helped young patients plant seedlings in the hospital’s “Healing Garden,” according to hospital spokespeople.
“I am a passionate believer in integrating and interpreting nature’s elements into our daily lives to create a warm, nurturing and positive environment,” she said in a statement. “I believe that these same natural benefits can be instrumental to enhancing the health and well-being of all children.”
Pundits rightfully jumped on Melania’s statement as laughable in the face of her husband’s obsessive war on Obamacare, which expands access to affordable health insurance, especially for low or lower-income children. But maybe that criticism is exactly what she hoped would occur, and not just regarding his healthcare assault, either.
Since President Trump entered the White House, he hasn’t only been urging the dismantling of health care reform, but a total annihilation of all environmental regulations, too. His decisions started with putting a climate change denier at the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, an oil business executive in as Secretary of State, and an anti-environmentalist in as Secretary of the Interior. His administration has prioritized bringing back coal so Appalachian workers have jobs again (although maybe not retirement benefits or health insurance), allowing cars to pollute with abandon, reconsidering the Clean Water Act, and drilling on federal lands.
And Melania, in the face of all of this, is applauding the healing powers of nature.
It simply can’t be a coincidence that on every rare occasion that Melania Trump opens her mouth, it is to say something that directly draws contrast to an issue that her husband is known to be adamantly opposed to. The president wants to be the modern Republican version of the Kennedys in the White House – the First Lady refuses to even move in. The president is a partisan attack dog – the First Lady has a “no politics” dinner knowing he can’t help but break the rules. The president is a Twitter troll – the First Lady subtly claims she’ll make drawing attention to the dangers of cyber-bullying a policy priority. The president vows to destroy health insurance coverage and go one-on-one against nature itself – the First Lady makes a statement that nature has the power to heal.
Meanwhile, Melania remains as far away from D.C. as she reasonably can be, and far away from her husband’s circle of policy advisors. That distance is no doubt a relief, and possibly offering her more control than she has had at least since his quest for the presidency began years ago.
If Melania truly is trying to undermine President Trump, well, there is no one better positioned to get under his thin, thin skin. And by doing it in such a distant, subtle form, she could be the most powerful agent for provoking him to the point where he’s finally proven to be too unstable and dangerous to be the leader of the free world.
Melania, if that ever occurs, well, I have a pink hat just waiting here for you.
Photo credit: Pvt. Gabriel Silva, via Wikimedia commons