CNN reporter Kate Bennett covers First Lady Melania Trump full time, which has to be a daunting job: When she’s not struggling to stay out from under the weight of her husband’s innumerable miscalculations and lies, Melania is as intractable as any famous figure ever has been, making someone whose job it is to follow her around contend with speculation, contradicting accounts of behavior and activities, and the constant question of whether Trump’s third wife has had staying power because she’s a lot like him.
There’s plenty of evidence to support that, despite the White House’s ire at Bennett’s recently-published “unauthorized” biography, Free, Melania. It seems that any portrait of the First Lady at all, whether she’s depicted as like her husband or not, is unappealing to Team Trump.
Perhaps that’s because in painting Melania as independent and powerful in her own right, Trump thinks that somehow lessens his own image, a theory borne out by his record of misogyny and sexism.
Don’t get me wrong: I believe Kate Bennett’s book is the product of someone who has romanticized their subject. In the book, Bennett describes the former model as an “unlikely feminist,” which of course is a farce. If Melania was any kind of feminist, unlikely or not, she would have left her chauvinist husband long, long ago, or perhaps never married him in the first place. And the book entirely glosses over the fact that Melania was just as much of a racist “birther” about Barack Obama’s citizenship as her husband was.
But Bennett is likely correct about the overarching description of the First Lady that she creates in the book: That of a confident, independent woman who doesn’t take nearly as much guff from her needling, abusive husband as people have portrayed her as doing.
In fact, multiple reports from just after the election depicted Mrs. Trump as being surprised and perhaps taken aback by her husband’s victory, perhaps reticent to give up a comfortable life in exchange for, well, what her life has turned into.
But on this point, Bennett’s account shows a completely different Melania Trump. And maybe on this point, Melania shows that she is more shrewd or possibly cynical than she’s given credit for, if Free, Melania is to be believed.
There’s a common misperception that Melania was against Trump’s running for president. That she didn’t want him to do it. Not true. She very much pushed him to run, in part because she did actually believe he would win and do a good job, but she was also tired, really tired, of listening to him talk about it.”
That’s just the kind of contradiction we’ve come to expect from the Trumps.
Featured image via screen capture
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