It is both a Groundhog’s Day-esque holiday ritual and a finale. The first lady, who has decked the halls nightmarishly for four years, with blood-red trees and barren white branches, will finally sign off from a job she admittedly loathed.
Never one to mask her emotions, Melania looked on at this year’s display of tinsel and twinkling trees with the type of disdain one might save for glaring at a raccoon rummaging through discarded sugar cookies sitting in the trash outside on December 26.
“During this special time of year, I am delighted to share ‘America the Beautiful’ and pay tribute to the majesty of our great Nation,” Melania tweeted. “Together, we celebrate this land we are all proud to call home.”
It was a void, detached statement coming from someone who has spent her husband’s first and only term mostly staring off into space blankly, uselessly, manifesting a future where she can go back to New York and do whatever it is that makes her happy. (Pilates? Adding Dior blazers to her Net-a-Porter shopping cart?)
Her outfit for the occasion—or at least, the official photos she posed in—was just as cold. The look was also very impractical for the task, though Melania let it be known on Twitter that the real heavy-lifting is done by plebeian “volunteers,” not her French manicured hands.
She wore four-inch Louboutin heels, a longtime shoe of choice for miserable rich women, a high-waist pencil skirt, and silver, crinkly button-up blouse. She looked polished and put-together, and so unlike any of us right now. It was another Marie Antoinette moment from Melania, while we’re all just shuffling around our homes swaddled in sweatpants and fear. Let them wear a Givenchy hoodie, this outfit snarls.
Melania presents herself as formal, dressed-up, and going to work, all while teetering through the home she supposedly lives in. Many Americans have spent much of this year growing familiar with every corner and crack in the drywall as a byproduct of staying home; our first lady still gapes around hers with the aloofness of a stranger.
Unlike past years’ spooky, shadow-casting, and probably haunted trees, or The Shining-colored evergreens erected in 2018, Melania’s last decorations are, well, OK.
Some might even consider the scene lovely, perfect in that every piece has its place. However, for all its conventional sparkle, there is a lingering emptiness to the whole thing. What a very appropriate final Christmas decoration for the Trump White House.