A New York Times profile of Melania Trump published Thursday compared the public’s perception of the first lady to a Rorschach test: Americans project their feelings about the president onto her. While supporters see a dutiful wife, opponents see an enabler.
The Times seems to see her as something different: a rebel. The profile paints Melania as quietly defiant, of both her haters and her husband.
Here are the juiciest excerpts from the approximately 2,000-word piece.
Melania ignored her husband’s warnings and went ahead with her “Be Best” campaign:
“The president suggested that Mrs. Trump choose a different topic to avoid questions about how the wife of a notorious Twitter bully could lead a campaign to spotlight anti-bullying and other child wellness efforts, and he warned her that she was opening herself to such jeers, people familiar with the conversations said. She rejected his advice, and publicly said she was willing to face the criticism.”
The infamous “I Really Don’t Care” jacket was said to be directed at people criticizing her decision to visit the incarcerated undocumented children:
“But any good intentions were overshadowed by her decision to wear a jacket emblazoned with the phrase “I REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U?” on an official trip to Texas. It was widely seen as inappropriate, insensitive and unbecoming of her office.
“Mr. Trump seized on the moment to say his wife was addressing the news media, but a person close to Mrs. Trump said the jacket was actually directed at anyone—both outside and inside the White House—who wanted to criticize her decision to visit the children in light of the administration’s aggressive immigration policies. The East Wing insisted the jacket had no underlying message.”
She is the “strongest voice” in President Trump’s life:
“The president does not often accede to anyone’s influence, but those close to the family say Mrs. Trump is the strongest voice in the president’s life. Several people in the president’s orbit have relied on Mrs. Trump to try to get back in Mr. Trump’s good graces when they have found themselves criticized or on the outs.”
Stormy Daniels: President Trump feels guilty, Melania is furious:
“In January, Mrs. Trump was said to be infuriated by reports of her husband’s attempt to pay off the pornographic film actress known as Stormy Daniels, with whom he is accused of having an affair shortly after Mrs. Trump gave birth to their son. The president’s allies say he remains concerned about her reaction whenever headlines about his extramarital behaviors crop up, and he has told friends he feels guilty about the criticism she has faced.”
She returns to New York to escape and hang out every month:
“She has few friends in Washington, keeps a light public schedule and when not watching over her 12-year-old son, Barron, returns home to New York—at least once per month, two people close to her say—for meetings and to visit a small circle of associates, including her sister and her hairstylist.”
She’s trying to curb her husband’s junk-food diet, but...:
“She has worked with the kitchen staff to arrange more-healthful meals for her husband—though he still prefers two scoops of ice cream for dessert.”