Monday 24 October 2016

'Sexist' Trump recruits model wife to supercharge campaign

Nick Allen in Washington

Published 07/09/2015 | 02:30

Donald Trump and his wife Melania
Donald Trump and his wife Melania

Her home is a penthouse at Trump Tower, designed in the style of Louis XIV, with marble fittings, crystal chandeliers, and bird's eye views of New York's Central Park.

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For a decade, Melania Trump (45) has lived in relative seclusion in her Manhattan eyrie, remaining quietly in the larger-than-life shadow of her billionaire husband, Donald.

But Mrs Trump is about to change all that, readying herself to join her husband's campaign to become the Republican presidential candidate.

Her mission will be to soften Mr Trump's image by counteracting some of his more incendiary remarks, especially when it comes to women.

At the first Republican debate last month, moderator Megyn Kelly interrogated Mr Trump over his use of terms such as "fat pigs" and "slobs" to describe women. Mr Trump suggested in a later interview that menstruation had been responsible for Ms Kelly's line of questioning.

The row led Hillary Clinton to join the attacks on him at the weekend, claiming he insults and dismisses women. She also mocked his statement that he "cherishes" women.

Mrs Clinton remains Mr Trump's most likely opponent should he secure his party's nomination, despite a new poll showing she's now 11 points behind Bernie Sanders in the crucial New Hampshire primary.

Mr Trump responded to Mrs Clinton yesterday in characteristic fashion, slating her for reciting her attack on him using "the biggest teleprompter I've ever seen", rather than speaking with emotion.

Such combativeness has made Mr Trump the star of the Republican campaign trail so far. However, in polls measuring "favourability" he is lagging in sixth place. To that end, his supporters are counting on the appeal of his wife, on whom he relies heavily for advice and refers to as "my pollster".

She even appears to have considered what kind of First Lady she would be, telling the 'New York Times' that she "would be very traditional, like Betty Ford or Jackie Kennedy".

True, neither Mrs Ford nor Mrs Kennedy ever appeared in the swimwear issue of 'Sports Illustrated' or posed naked for 'British GQ', or talked about their "incredible" sex life on a radio show, as Mrs Trump, a former supermodel, has done.

But she studied architecture at university in Slovenia, the country of her birth, and is said to speak four languages. She is also a savvy businesswoman in her own right.

She has been a much less visible presence than Mr Trump's first wife, Ivana, who played a key role in his businesses before they divorced in 1992.

Involving her will be taken as a sign that Mr Trump is increasingly confident of success. Far from his campaign imploding as widely predicted, he has lengthened his lead. An NBC/Marist Iowa poll yesterday put him on 29pc, ahead of Ben Carson, on 22pc. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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