Monday 27 March 2017

Lady in waiting: Who is Melania Trump?

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gives a thumbs up after his wife Melania spoke during the Republican National Convention
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gives a thumbs up after his wife Melania spoke during the Republican National Convention
Melania Trump, wife of Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump, waves as she arrives to speak at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland
Donald Trump and wife Melania in 2004
Ed Power

Ed Power

Melania Trump is a unique fixture in the life of her husband.

While Donald Trump has been famous since the 80s, his wife is the classic mystery in plain sight. The basic facts are well established: the 46-year-old is a former model from Slovenia who met Trump at New York Fashion Week. Yet this potential next first lady is nonetheless an unknown quantity.  

Even as her husband has provoked shock and awe with his controversial run for the White House, she has maintained an air of discreet dignity. We know little of her political views or of her interests beyond her husband's career - or of her relationship with Trump's four adult children from his two previous marriages (she and Trump have a 10-year-old son, Barron).

Indeed, the Trump campaign has seemed happy for her to stay in the background no matter that her rags-to-bling story (she grew up in a crumbling tower block) is ripe for mythologising. However, with Trump now just a few swing states from the White House, increased scrutiny has fallen on his glamorous spouse.

Donald Trump and wife Melania in 2004
Donald Trump and wife Melania in 2004

In 2015, she let it be known that she had pushed for her husband to seek the Republican nomination. "I encouraged him because I know what he will do and what he can do for America." What may be predicted with certainty is that, unlike Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton, she will not use the White House at a platform for her own political views.

"I would be very traditional," she told the 'New York Times'. "Like Betty Ford or Jackie Kennedy I would support him."

Melania Trump, wife of Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump, waves as she arrives to speak at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland
Melania Trump, wife of Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump, waves as she arrives to speak at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland

Irish Independent

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