Tuesday, August 9

Melania Trump stays out of public life heading into 2024

(CNN) — Mientras Donald Trump publicly discusses his political future, playing with a “will / will not” in the face of a possible candidacy for the White House in 2024, while exercising his influence in the primaries For next year’s midterm elections, there is a key person who is remarkably silent. Again.

Melania Trump, maybe the most reserved first lady of modern history, has withdrawn more and more of public life since he left Washington in January. She has only been seen publicly once this summer, when photographers spotted her leaving Trump Tower in New York, accompanied by her son.

Other than that, with the exception of a few Instagram posts by people who happened to see her in the dining room of the former president’s Bedminster Golf Club, Melania Trump – always the conundrum – has purposely failed to step foot in front of a camera.

Last month, the former first lady returned from her summer stay in New Jersey to Palm Beach, Florida, where, according to his friends, he will reside full-time in Mar-a-Lago while Barron Trump attends a private institute. She would abandon the life in Manhattan that she knew before the White House, a period that granted her the greatest possible anonymity for being the wife of Donald Trump.

“Being first lady is not what Melania Trump wants”

Melania Trump’s disinterest in public political life runs deep enough that she herself has told several friends that not only does she have no intention of bolstering her husband’s inflated political ambitions, but she has zero desire to be again. the White House, according to several people who spoke to CNN about his mindset.

“Being first lady again is not what she wants,” said one of the people, who had a close relationship with Melania Trump during her time in the White House. “For her, it was a chapter … and it’s over, and that’s it.”

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She sees her husband’s continuing impact on the GOP landscape as his, not hers. “You are not going to see her at rallies or at campaign events, even if he says ‘officially’ that he is running again,” commented another person who knows the disinterest that Melania Trump has shown in supporting the former president.

“Instead it’s going to be Lara (Trump, Trump’s son Eric’s wife) or (Kimberly) Guilfoyle (Trump’s eldest son Don’s girlfriend). They have the same desire as Trump to (show up) again. ; Melania, not at all. “

Melania Trump’s office did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.

The fact that Trump will not be present at the campaign – if there is any – is not unusual, given her record as a politically reticent wife. While most presidential candidates campaign with their partners, or ask them to campaign on their own, often relying on them to attract voters, the idea of ​​mobilizing an electorate “was never his thing,” he said. the person who was close to her during the White House years. Appearances on the road in 2016 were rare, at best.

In fact, the “No” answer when asked by then-candidate Donald Trump’s staff to appear at events was so frequent that, over time, “we stopped asking,” said a political agent who worked on Trump’s team in the first days. Tired of public scrutiny and press coverage, Melania Trump participated in fewer than five on-camera interviews and none with the print media when she was first lady – an unheard of shortage.

Melania “says ‘Hello'”

Melania Trump’s absence from her husband’s side in the handful of rallies and speeches she has given since leaving office – most to speak well of an elected Republican candidate or to lash out at those who have opposed him, while repeating myths that he unfairly lost the presidential election – not something his supporters think about.

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“The fact is, her base got used to not having her there,” said a political operator who worked for a time with then-President Trump.

And his followers didn’t care either. “Instead, she asserted this idea that her not being there was a good thing. They get defensive because I’m not there. It’s pretty incredible when you think about it,” the agent added.

Whereas Laura Bush was a skilled fundraiser and pulled women on the campaign trail, and Michelle Obama was so adept at speaking publicly on her husband’s behalf that she was nicknamed “the closer,” Melania Trump is so good not being there that she has normalized the peculiarity of its absence.

“The Trump voter puts (Melania Trump) on a pedestal. They’re in awe of her looks or the way she basically doesn’t express ideas or opinions, which they see as stoicism and loyalty. For them, that’s enough for loyalty. “said the agent.

The person who worked with Melania Trump over the years in the White House pointed to the grueling calendar of a campaign, and the hours and hours in stadiums, waiting while her husband makes long speeches at rallies. “If you can’t do all of that, and people agree to it, why wouldn’t you?” Said this person.

In a 90-minute speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference in February, the former president basically dedicated himself to transmitting greetings, saying Melania, “(who) says ‘Hello’, who loves you as much as I love you.” The audience applauded.

In June, at a rally in North Carolina, Trump again played surrogate, winking at his wife’s absence by describing the trip on the Trump Tower escalators years ago when he announced his candidacy. “As I said on that beautiful morning in which I went down with our future first lady at the time, Melania”, adding “who sends his regards.”

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Life, uninterrupted

Melania Trump’s life now remains private, more than it could be by the nature of her role in Washington. “This is how she likes it. The more she can be private and not be in the public eye, the better,” said another person who has known her for more than a decade. “And there’s nothing wrong with it. I mean, if all the people in the world watched your every move for four or five years, and that wasn’t comfortable … imagine how unnerving that must have been.”

In February, Melania announced the opening of her office, which, according to three people with knowledge of the matter, is currently operating out of Palm Beach with a staff of two to three full-time employees, two of whom held positions in the Trump White House. .

The presentation of Trump’s official efforts after the White House came via a February tweet from the office, saying: “Mrs. Melania Trump is announcing the opening of the Melania Trump Office. Please follow this account. for news and updates “.

Since then, the account has been a chain of memories and thanks, with no announcements about ongoing initiative goals, policies, charity events, speeches, or public appearances.


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