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'If Trump is re-elected, it will almost certainly be because of Melania'

Mary Kenny


The First Lady used beauty as her route to power, but she married it with ambition, shrewdness and communist discipline

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Mary Kenny, writer and author. Photo: Tony Gavin

Mary Kenny, writer and author. Photo: Tony Gavin

Mary Kenny, writer and author. Photo: Tony Gavin

Probably the most powerful personality in the American presidential campaign this year is Melania Trump, the President's (third) wife. Powerful in a passive, backgrounded way, but powerful just the same. Donald Trump has had a terrible year, what with one thing and another - America's death toll from Covid, alone, signals that - and his re-election is far from assured.

But if he does win again in November, it will almost certainly be because Melania - aloof, dignified, maintaining a separate life while also loyal to her husband - is seen as a stabilising force. As he grows older, according to Melania's biographer, he'll come to depend ever more on her judgement, which he respects.

It was Melania who advised him to pick Mike Pence as his Vice President, calculating that Pence would be content to serve as No. 2 and never challenge the boss. They often play a dual role of "bad cop, good cop" and, according to Mary Jordan in The Art of Her Deal, Melania compensates for Donald's many blind spots. When he rails against immigrants, Melania posts compassionate messages about migrant families and their needs.