Melania unlikely to return to DC if Trump wins election, experts say

Former first lady Melania Trump is unlikely to return to Washington, DC in the event that her husband Donald Trump wins a second term in the White House, according to the experts.

A number of “Melania-ologists” quoted by Axios all agree that the Slovenian former model has little appetite for the cut-and-thrust of contemporary politics and do not believe she will move back to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue should the 45th president beat Joe Biden in November.

Although her husband is rarely out of the headlines as he campaigns for the Oval Office and promotes his business interests while fending off an array of complex legal challenges, Melania herself has only been seen in public on a few occasions this year, most recently at her son Barron’s high school graduation, and has taken no part in Trump’s rallies nor shown up to support him at his recent New York hush money trial.

“She’s distancing herself even more from her husband and from the Washington social political scene,” said Kate Andersen Brower, author of First Women (2016) and a number of other books on the White House and America’s first ladies.

“I mean, she clearly hated being in Washington.”

Mary Jordan, a Washington Post associate editor and author of the unauthorised Melania biography The Art of Her Deal (2020) pointed to her subject’s independent streak: “Melania does what Melania wants.”

For Jordan, that quality has seen her “stand out in history from any other first lady,” explaining that Melania sees the role as “unelected, not paid” and therefore not something to which she feels compelled to commit.

On how she might handle a second Trump administration coming to pass, the journalist suggested Melania would cut a more assertive figure this time around: “Now having seen how this works, she would just be wiser and she would be more vocal and more demanding about what the first lady’s office should get.”

Viktor Knavs, Melania Trump and Donald Trump attend Barron Trump’s high school graduation at Oxbridge Academy in West Palm Beach, Florida, on May 17. (Marco Bello/Reuters)
Viktor Knavs, Melania Trump and Donald Trump attend Barron Trump’s high school graduation at Oxbridge Academy in West Palm Beach, Florida, on May 17. (Marco Bello/Reuters)

Kate Bennett, author of Free, Melania (2019), another biography, notes that the socialite likes to express herself through her choice of clothes and that, by the end of her husband’s term in office, she had begun to favour outfits with sharp shoulders and hard buttons “almost like an armour” to protect herself from fierce scrutiny.

That certainly tallies with the popular characterisation of Melania Trump as a reluctant first lady, apparent from the earliest days of her husband’s presidency when she stayed behind at Trump Tower in the Big Apple rather than join him in DC, reportedly for the sake of Barron’s schooling.

In the West Wing, she was mocked for her “scary” taste in Christmas decorations and derided for the insensitive jacket she wore to a migrant detention centre on the Texas border (another pointed style choice).

She has seldom been seen at public engagements since departing DC, missing her husband’s campaign launch at Mar-a-Lago in November 2022, giving few interviews and playing no part in his early Republican primary victories in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina and on through Super Tuesday.

Asked by reporters in Florida on March 19 during a rare sighting as she stepped out to vote when she would be joining the campaign, Melania answered only: “Stay tuned.”

Donald Trump and Melania Trump speak to the press after voting in the Florida primary election in Palm Beach on March 19. (Wilfredo Lee/AP)
Donald Trump and Melania Trump speak to the press after voting in the Florida primary election in Palm Beach on March 19. (Wilfredo Lee/AP)

But since then, she has only appeared at a handful of fundraising events at her home and was not even present for Trump’s 78th birthday party in West Palm Beach on June 14.

While she did not show up to support her husband in Manhattan either, her name did crop up during testimony, notably when his ex-communications chief Hope Hicks said that her old boss had been concerned about her reaction to a story about his alleged affair with Playboy model Karen McDougal and had ensured that no newspapers were delivered to their residence that day.

Unlike Trump’s adult children, Melania did not react on social media when the jury reached its guilty verdict but The New York Times did quote a source close to her saying that she privately considered the whole case “a disgrace.”

“Where’s Melania?” reporters asked the defendant at one of his daily impromptu press conferences at the courthouse last month, at which point he turned on his heel and left without answering.

Asked about her again by Fox News in the wake of the verdict, Trump said: “I think it’s very hard for her. I mean, she’s fine. But, you know, she has to read all this crap.”

Melania’s estranged former confidante Stephanie Winston Wolkoff has most recently suggested on social media that the Trumps’ marriage has always been “a mirage” cooked up to match his reality television image.

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