Etiquette experts share troubling analysis of Trump marriage

Donald Trump has been critiqued over his body language and etiquette toward his wife, Melania, since his inauguration, and this week has been no exception.

A photo of the couple disembarking Air Force One on April 18 reignited debate over his alleged disregard for the first lady.

The viral photo shows the president saluting people at the bottom of the airplane's stairs while Melania is still descending far behind him.


Photo: Twitter

This is not the first time President Trump has seemingly left Melania in the dust.

A photo of the two entering the inauguration ceremony made waves earlier this year, feeding rumors that the Trump marriage lacks warmth and respect.

In light of this troubling trend, The Huffington Post spoke with two etiquette experts, Jacqueline Whitmore and Elaine Swann, to decode the meaning behind Trump and Melania's cold interactions.

Whitmore, who is an international etiquette expert, explained the traditional rule of etiquette when it comes to men and women descending stairs together.

"When a man and woman are coming down the stairs the man would go before her. The logic being that if she trips or falls, the man (generally being larger or stronger) would be in a position to catch her," she told the outlet.

However, Whitmore noted that even though the president is walking in front of his wife as etiquette dictates, his sheer distance from Melania "could be perceived as a sign of disrespect."

"In the photographs, what we're clearly seeing is that Donald Trump is walking not just one stair ahead, not two stairs ahead, but a few feet ahead. She's not being accompanied by him," she said.

"If you look at some of the old photos of Ronald and Nancy Reagan or the Obamas, they are very close together. In other words, they're a unit, they're a couple, they're engaging in this activity together."

Swann, a lifestyle and etiquette expert, shared a similar stance.

"The husband at the bottom of the stairs, saluting and greeting the people there, and the wife is still at the top of the stairs – this is incorrect," she told the Huffington Post. "The proper thing for him to do is to wait for his spouse at the bottom of the stairs and then take her hand and assist her down the last few steps as she comes down. This was not done."

"He still is a husband first before a president. Because he's in the presence of a woman, and this woman is his spouse, he still has to make sure that he's nurturing his relationship. And part of nurturing your relationship is the small gestures and niceties that are necessary in terms of chivalry."

Communication and body language expert Susan Constantine came to a similar, and equally troubling, conclusion on the Trump marriage in a post-inauguration interview with Mic.

"If you didn't know that they were married, you wouldn't know that they are married."

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