Melania’s Hollow Platform

Melania Trump in Kenya

ABC’s “20/20” interview featuring First Lady Melania Trump aired this past Friday, allowing viewers to hear more than three words out of Melania’s mouth on controversies and issues that have plagued the White House and by association her marriage. While many seem content with praising Melania for her beauty, fashion sense, and poise, some of us would like it if everything that came out of the First Lady’s mouth didn’t come out like some scripted monologue written by her husband’s administration.

If there is anything that I got out of watching the interview, it’s that Mrs. Trump is not so much different from her husband. Not only does she seem incapable of voicing a genuinely honest or straight-forward thought, particularly on issues such as sexual assault and immigration, but she also spends a lot of time griping about how horrible people (and certain foundations) who don’t appreciate her husband’s actions or policies are to her. In fact, when asked about her cyberbullying campaign “Be Best” Melania stated:

“I could say I’m the most bullied person on the world.”

It’s a sentence that could have come straight from her husband’s thin pasty lips. This idea of Trump and his family somehow being the most persecuted and victimized family that ever touched the lawn of the White House, or the world if we allow Trump and his administration to tell it, has become a very prevalent occurrence. It’s nice to know that Melania hasn’t been spared from this eye-roll worthy habit. To be fair, the First Lady does go on to correct herself later, settling for “one of the most” bullied despite what she initially said.

Aside from the fact that her husband has proven to be the biggest bully there is, whether that’s online or during one of his inciting speeches, Melania’s statement proves that this campaign did not come out of any particularly moving notion that the First Lady had to actually help improve rampant social media harassment, but a way for her to successfully swoop in with her white savior complex hat (conveniently while in Africa) while making the issue all about her and not the millions of other individuals that don’t have wealth, tyrannical husbands, or entire administrations to spare them from the worst of it.

Melania visiting Nest Childrens Home Orphanage in Kenya

During her interview with ABC anchor Tom Llamas, Melania was very adamant on how she wishes people would focus on what she does and not what she wears after questions arose at her choice to wear a Colonial-Era safari hat during her trip to Africa. The infamous ‘I really don’t care. Do you?’ jacket she’d worn during her visit to migrant children at a Texas detention center was also discussed. Despite her spokesperson Stephanie Grisham’s claims that “there was no hidden message” back in June, Melania admitted that the jacket was actually meant for the left-wing media whose only purpose in life is to demonize her. Melania really didn’t have to change her tune on her intentions behind wearing the jacket. And even though she has yet to give one for the safari hat, it is very hard to believe that a prominent fashion model and figure like Melania doesn’t put any article of clothing on without considering how it’s going to be perceived and analyzed. Just saying.

Aside from this, the First Lady also wanted to make it very clear that she has her own voice which she apparently, along with Ivanka, used to talk Trump into ending the separation of migrant children from their families and locking them in cages. It’s just very interesting that this didn’t come until they too were pulled into the fray of accusations that demanded to know how they, as mothers, could allow something so heinous to happen. Naturally, this “voice” only arose once fingers were pointed, and they refused to go away. That is not altruistic or virtuous. It is self-serving. It is the one thing that Trump and his entire family are good at; propping themselves up as benevolent saviors while really just trying to maintain less than convincing facades that they have created for the public to buy.

Melania during ABC “20/20” interview with reporter Tom Llamas

This leads me to my biggest problem with Melania; nothing about her or her actions ring true.

For a time, I felt sorry for her. I considered how hard it must be, being married to someone that is such a lying, misogynistic, narcissist. I thought about how constricting it must be, having to be married to such a narcissist while also having to live up to this image of a nurturing and ideal woman before the rest of the world. That was my attempt to separate my contempt towards Trump from his wife, who unfortunately just so happened to be married to him.

Since then, I haven’t completely given up trying to give Melania a chance to reveal that she is more than a trophy wife and the glorified maternal figure that Trump’s administration tends to paint her as. Her “20/20” interview could have proved successful in doing that, but it didn’t. I would have liked to see more than the woman whose entire platform seems to balance between being a “stand behind your man no matter what” type of “role model” and an overly polished figure who is only capable of appropriating ideas (and entire speeches) from the former First Lady and President.

Melania with husband Donald Trump and their son Baron in Morristown, New Jersey, Aug. 19, 2018.

Being pretty and mostly subservient to your husband’s harmful, prejudice, and misogynistic views does not make for a role model worth looking up to.

At the end of the day, Melania has a lot of perfectly stringed together words to live up to the beautiful and respectable madonna that many see her as. But her less than believable words and actions have only proven to be superficial attempts to play the role of First Lady while glossing over the fact that she’s willing to conform to the many atrocities that are committed by her husband.

It seems like the only legacy that Melania wants to leave behind is one where the next generation learns to do and say problematic things without expecting to be confronted about it. One where, instead of owning up to these mistakes when these mistakes demand explanation or repercussion, they should cry foul and paint themselves as the victims. If this is the case, then you and Donald are doing a great job, Melania!

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