Sure, in-depth analysis of every controversial move Donald Trump makes may be taking over the news, but another Trump is providing fodder for quite a different take on the new presidency.
Yep, the internet is awash with Melania Trump memes, photos of the First Lady looking miserable and “Blink twice if you need help” jokes.
As humorous as they’re intended to be, some are saying, “Seriously, though” when it comes to ‘America’s First Victim’.
Radhika Sanghani, writing for the UK’s Telegraph: “How can a man who views women as fat slobs, with the faces of dogs, who bleed out of their 'whatevers' (all direct quotes) have a fully-functioning marriage?”
Still others believe all this sympathy is misdirected.
Stassa Edwards, writing for The Slot says: If the past is any indication, Melania is no passive victim. Recently a 2011 interview with Melania on the Joy Behar Show went viral on Twitter. In the interview, Melania defends her husband’s adamant commitment to the birther conspiracy born of the Tea Party—his belief that President Obama is not an American citizen, that he was born in Kenya and that his Hawaii-issued birth certificate was, in fact, a forgery. “Do you want to see President Obama’s birth certificate or not?” Melania asks Behar. “I’ve seen it,” Behar responds. “It’s not a birth certificate,” Melania says as she shakes her head. Here, Melania recites her husband’s conspiratorial and fictitious claims, ones Donald Trump repeated for five years until, in September 2016, he “conceded” that they were untrue. Melania has never indicated whether or not she agrees with that concession…
Like Ivanka Trump, whose brand and subsequent media narratives have worked to distance her from her father’s repugnant ideologies from racist birtherism to sexual assault, Melania is no innocent. She’s willing to vocally defend her husband—not only to stand next to him for the sake of political spectacle or personal gain, but to do the obligatory media tours and, like her step-daughter, insist that he respects women.
Marisa Bate, writing for The Pool: “Real concern? Heartfelt worry? We have to save that for women who don’t live in the most powerful house in the world. And that New York other home – "Barron needs to go to school" – story? Maybe Melania has found a way to free herself, after all.”
In this post-truth world (where pre-nups and non-disclosure agreements rule) it’s unlikely we’ll ever find out how Melania really feels (see: the ex-Mrs Trump, Ivana, who has stayed very, very quiet). Until then, she’ll likely be a cipher for whatever we, the people, project on to her.