Born and raised in a small town in Yugoslavia, Melania Trump packed her bags and left the former Communist regime to pursue a modeling career when she was still a teenager. That journey eventually led her to meet Donald Trump and to become just the second foreign-born First Lady of the United States.
An intensely private person, Melania doesn’t speak much to the media, leaving them to speculate or rely on anonymous sources to attempt to reveal her mindset during her time in the White House. The couple have had quite a few cringe-worthy moments since Donald Trump’s shocking 2016 win, but no matter what has been written about their supposed strained relationship, Melania is a country song in the sense that she always stands by her man in public or whenever she peels back the curtain and allows the media to speak with her directly.
And despite calls to #FreeMelania from the grips of a husband who a significant part of the population just assume she despises as much as they do, Melania and Donald are more alike than those people wish to admit. “There’s so many similarities here,” Melania’s friend and former adviser Stephanie Winston Wolkoff said on Anderson Cooper 360. “And they do things not for the purpose, that, you know, good deeds are done for the intent of doing good deeds, not for the attention that you get from doing good deeds.” There’s no need to speculate. Here are the times Melania Trump had to publicly defend Donald Trump.
Donald Trump's birtherism was backed by Melania Trump
The questions surrounding Barack Obama’s birth didn’t start with Donald Trump, but the real estate mogul eventually became the most prominent voice to promote birther conspiracy theories. During a 2011 interview with Good Morning America, the future president made his stance on the issue clear for the first time, saying he was a “little” skeptical of Obama’s citizenship (via Politico). “Growing up no one knew him,” he said. “The whole thing is very strange.”
Melania Trump echoed those sentiments during a 2011 appearance on CNN’s The Joy Behar Show. Behar asked about her husband’s “obsession” with Obama’s birth certificate and whether or not he asked to see hers when they met. “Well I needed to put mine, anyway, because if you want to become an American citizen, you need to put the birth certificate,” Melania responded. “I have a birth certificate from Slovenia. And…do you want to see President Obama’s birth certificate or not?”
Melania insisted that the certificate of live birth that Obama provided was not the same as a birth certificate, and explained it wasn’t just her husband who wanted to see the real deal. “It’s not only, it’s not only Donald who wants to see it, it’s American people who voted for him and who didn’t vote for him,” she said. “They want to see that.” Later that month, The White House released Obama’s long form birth certificate.
The infamous Access Hollywood tape was 'boy talk,' according to Melania Trump
Prior to the 2016 election, a 2005 video of Donald Trump caught on a hot mic during an appearance on Access Hollywood making lewd comments about women was released. While talking to former host Billy Bush, The Apprentice judge claimed he could grope and kiss women because “when you’re a star, they let you do it” (via The Washington Post). He later apologized, but called the tape “a distraction.”
Later that month, Melania Trump sat down with CNN‘s Anderson Cooper and claimed her husband was just having “boy talk, and he was led on — like, egged on — from the host to say dirty and bad stuff.” She also suggested it was a hit job by the Clinton campaign. “I believe my husband. I believe my husband,” she said. “This was all organized from the opposition. And with the details … did they ever check the background of these women? They don’t have any facts.”
Melania says she knows that Donald “respects women” and fully expected tapes to surface since he lived most of his adult life as a celebrity. “It’s very hard, especially for him — when he decided to run for the presidency, because he did so many stuff in his life. He was on so many tapes, so many shows,” she said. “And we knew that — that, you know, tapes will come out, people won’t want to go against him.”
Melania Trump pushed back on claims that Donald Trump is anti-LGBTQ
Donald Trump’s record on LGBTQ issues during his presidency, including an executive order to rollback an existing policy that banned federal contractors from discriminating based on sexual identity and his nomination of staunch conservative Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, caused backlash from LGBTQ advocates.
Melania Trump pushed back on claims that her husband was anti-gay by appearing in a video for OUTSpoken, a website for gay conservatives. “I was shocked to discover that some of these powerful people have tried to paint my husband as anti-gay, or against equality. Nothing could be further from the truth,” she says in the video. “Donald loves helping people, and he loves seeing those around him, and his country, succeed.”
She went on to say that her husband was “the first president to enter the White House supporting gay marriage” and touted him as “the first president to appoint an openly gay official to his cabinet.” She added, “The story of America is one of trailblazers and fearless underdogs. Today we see free-thinkers and independent voices–like gay conservatives and Log Cabin Republicans–silenced, censored, and bullied by cancel culture mobs.”
The alleged 'losers' quip? Melania Trump called it 'not true'
On Sept. 3, 2020, The Atlantic revealed that Donald Trump’s 2018 visit to Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in France wasn’t canceled due inclement weather as The White House initially reported. Citing four anonymous sources who claimed to have firsthand knowledge of his decision not to visit, the 45th president allegedly said, “Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers.” He also allegedly called the 1,800 marines who died at the World War I battle in Belleau Wood “suckers,” then reportedly asked, “Who were the good guys in this war?”
Donald immediately hit back on his platform of choice: Twitter. “The Atlantic Magazine is dying, like most magazines, so they make up a fake story in order to gain some relevance. Story already refuted, but this is what we are up against. Just like the Fake Dossier,” he wrote. “You fight and fight, and then people realize it was a total fraud!”
In a rare move, Melania Trump also jumped on Twitter to defend her husband. “@TheAtlantic story is not true. It has become a very dangerous time when anonymous sources are believed above all else, & no one knows their motivation. This is not journalism – It is activism. And it is a disservice to the people of our great nation,” she wrote.
How Melania Trump handled Donald Trump's remarks about Greta Thunberg
Environmental activist Greta Thunberg was named Time’s Person of the Year in 2019. “To a generation let down by traditional power structures, Thunberg’s selection shows that you don’t need to be part of them to shape history,” the publication’s executive editor Ben Goldberger said. Donald Trump didn’t react well to this news. “So ridiculous. Greta must work on her Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Greta, Chill!,” he tweeted.
One might expect Melania Trump to have taken issue with her husband’s tweet considering that Be Best, her anti-bullying initiative, was her singular effort during her time as First Lady. Spoiler: she didn’t. “Be Best is the First Lady’s initiative, and she will continue to do all she can to help children. It is no secret that the President and First Lady often communicate differently — as most married couples do,” a statement issued from the White House to CNN reporter Kate Bennett read. “Their son is not an activist who travels the globe giving speeches. He is a 13-year-old who wants and deserves privacy.”
The inclusion of her son Barron Trump in this statement was in reference to witness Pamela Karlan bringing up his name during Donald’s impeachment hearings. “While the president can name his son Barron, he can’t make him a baron,” Karlan said. Melania replied in a tweet writing, “A minor child deserves privacy and should be kept out of politics.”
Melania Trump defended her husband's comments about Mexican immigrants
During a rare sit down interview while Donald Trump was campaigning to be president, Melania Trump spoke with Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC’s Morning Joe on a wide range of topics involving her husband including his comments on women, his perceived vulgar nature, and his inflammatory rhetoric about Mexican and Muslim immigrants.
When asked about his comments on Mexicans, Melania replied, “I don’t feel like he insulted the Mexicans. He said illegal immigrants. He didn’t talk about everybody … And after two weeks of giving him a hard time and bashing him in the media, they turn around, they said, ‘You know what, he’s right.'” She added, “he opened conversation that nobody did.”
Brzezinski then reminded Melania that she herself was an immigrant and asked if she thought her husband had “gone too far” with his stance on immigration at the border. “I follow the law,” Melania quickly shot back. “I follow a law the way it’s supposed to be. I never thought to stay here without papers. I had visa. I travel every few months back to the country, to Slovenia, to stamp the visa. I came back. I applied for the green card. I applied for the citizenship later on after many years of green card. So I went by system. I went by the law, and you should do that.”
Melania Trump said Donald Trump 'will punch back 10 times harder'
A little over a year later, then-President Donald Trump fired off a series of tweets attacking Morning Joe and their hosts (and couple), Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. “I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don’t watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year’s Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!” he tweeted.
The official account of MSNBC’s Public Relations tweeted, “It’s a sad day for America when the president spends his time bullying, lying and spewing petty personal attacks instead of doing his job.” Brzezinski took to the airwaves to address his remarks. “It’s unbelievably alarming that this president is so easily played,” she said during her show’s broadcast (via Vanity Fair). “He’s so easily played—by a cable news host. What is this saying to our allies? What is this saying to our enemies?”
As for Melania Trump’s thoughts on this spat? Here you go. “Melania Trump’s comms director: “As First Lady has stated publicly…when her husband gets attacked, he will punch back 10 times harder,” CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins tweeted.
Melania Trump seemingly defended Donald Trump's aggressive tweeting
Melania Trump visited Liberty University in 2018 to participate in a town hall to discuss the ongoing opioid crisis. “When I took on opioid abuse as one of the pillars of my initiative ‘Be Best,’ I did it with the goal of helping children of all ages. I have visited several hospitals and facilities that are dedicated to helping all who have been affected by this disease — including people who are addicted, babies born addicted and families coping with addiction of a loved one,” she said (via CNN).
Since she was there a part of her Be Best initiative, naturally the subject of social media and online bullying came up. The First Lady said everyone should be “respectful and kind” on social media platforms, but without mentioning her husband’s name she seemingly defended his bullying tactics on Twitter. “And also sometimes you need to fight back, I’m sorry,” hinting at support for her husband’s bullying tactics on Twitter,” she said.
This statement seems to be at odds with Be Best’s internet safety guide that tells parents to “keep a cool head” if their child is a target of cyberbullying. “Remind your child that most people realize bullying is wrong,” the guide continues. “Tell your child not to respond in kind.”
As for the infidelity allegations? Not a 'concern' for Melania Trump
Donald Trump has been hounded by infidelity allegations before and during his presidency, and no two were more high-profile than his reported relationship with former adult film star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal. One would think that would take a toll on any marriage, but it has to be exponentially more difficult when you’re the First Lady and your husband’s rumored cheating is national news.
During a 2018 interview with ABC News (which she agreed to with no preconditions), Melania Trump claims the stories haven’t put a strain on their marriage. “It is not concern and focus of mine. I’m a mother and a first lady, and I have much more important things to think about and to do,” she said. “I know people like to speculate and the media like to speculate about our marriage.” When asked if she had been personally hurt by the allegations, Melania replied, “Media what is speculating, yeah. It’s not always pleasant, of course, but I know what is right and what is wrong and what is true and not true.”
She then reiterated that their marriage is solid despite the allegations. “Yes, we are fine,” she explained.”It’s what media speculate, and it’s gossip. It’s not always correct stuff.” She added, “I’m very strong, and I know what my priorities are.”
Melania Trump responds to the #MeToo movement
During the same interview with ABC News, Melania Trump was asked if she supported the #MeToo movement despite the fact that her husband defended his Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, after he was hit with sexual assault allegations that were investigated by the FBI. “I support the women and they need to be heard,” she said. “We need to support them and also men, not just women.”
When asked if she thought that men accused of sexual assault were being unfairly treated by the media, Melania replied, “We need to have hard evidence that, you know, that if you are accused of something, show the evidence.” She was not exactly repeating the “Believe Women” mantra of the movement.
The interviewer pressed further, claiming that women sitting at home listening might not believe she supported movement nor stand with the accusers. “I do stand with women but we need to show the evidence. You cannot just say to somebody, I was, you know, sexually assaulted and or you did that to me or— because sometimes the media goes too far and the way they portray some stories, it’s not correct,” she replied. “It’s not right.”
Melania Trump bashed Joe Biden at a rally
A day before the 2020 Presidential election Melania Trump campaigned alongside her husband at a rally in North Carolina and blasted the Democrats and Joe Biden for being soft on crime and their proposed economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic. “When rioters and looters were burning our cities and wrecking small businesses that belong to hard working families and bring jobs to our communities, where were the Democrats?” the First Lady asked the crowd Huntersville (via the Daily Mail).
She then took aim at Biden for being a career politician. “Why should we trust Joe Biden when he suggests he can do a better job? All you have to do is look back on his 47 years in political life to determine whether you think he is suddenly capable of putting the American people first,'” she said. “Joe Biden predicts a dark winter. His solution is to shut things down, to scare the people of our country and hurt our economy and our jobs. That is not leadership. That is trying to scare people for votes. My husband sees something different.”
Melania added that Democrats were making COVID-19 “the most politically charged, polarizing, and divisive topic of the last decade,” and blasted “anyone who casts doubt on the potential effectiveness of a vaccine” just because it was developed during the Trump administration. “With very little information, they created their own narrative and stoked fear,” she said.
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