Do you think Melania Trump has any close friends to talk to? I think she probably did have some close friends at some point, but they were jettisoned over the years, and the last remaining friends left her in disgust at some point over the past three years or so. Melania doesn’t have many people around her, that’s my point. She has her parents and her son. She has a skelton East Wing staff to handle her FLOTUS duties. And that’s it. So it is not that surprising that the French First Lady Brigitte Macron made Melania sound like the saddest sack in the entire deplorable country.
Far from the stern, even glum image she presents to the public, Melania Trump in private is excellent company, according to Brigitte Macron – but unlike the French first lady, her US counterpart cannot so much as poke her nose outdoors. Speaking to Le Monde at the end of the French presidential couple’s three-day state visit to Washington, Macron said the 48-year-old former model from Slovenia was “actually really fun. We have the same sense of humour. We laugh a lot together.”
But Melania “cannot do anything”, the French first lady said. “She can’t even open a window at the White House. She can’t go outside. She’s much more constrained than I am. I go out every day in Paris.” Brigitte, a former French and drama teacher who recently celebrated her 65th birthday and is 25 years older than Emmanuel, her former student, insisted that contrary to popular opinion, Melania, who is 24 years younger than her husband, was “kind, charming, intelligent and very open”.
It was understandable she looked grim in public, she said. “Everything is interpreted, over-interpreted. She’s someone who has a strong personality, but works hard to hide it. She laughs very easily, at everything, but shows it less than I do.” The French first lady said she, too, was aware that she had to “be careful what I say. I have the impression that every word is a word too many, I’m constantly holding myself back. That’s the hardest part: there’s never really any time off, never a moment when you can be completely calm.”
Macron said she tries to lead “a normal life”, continuing to see her son and two daughters with her first husband, banker André-Louis Auzière, and grandchildren. “I haven’t changed in my head,” she said. “I’m still the wife of Emmanuel Macron, not of the president. I don’t feel like a first lady.”
Even if “at my age, I have nothing to prove”, she said she tried to be more than just a decorative “vase of flowers” in her husband’s wake. But it was not easy: the tailored Louis Vuitton outfits she wears on public occasions were like a “skin” shielding her from the incessant spotlight, she said.
I mean… Michelle Obama had a constrictions on her day-to-day movement too, but no one was ever like “oh poor Michelle, she can’t even leave the White House!” Probably because Michelle found ways to be useful and to inspire girls and women around the world. Melania is just a sad sack trophy wife who hates her life. And no, I don’t believe Melania has much of a sense of humor. As for Brigitte Macron… French first ladies have completely different “roles” in the public sphere, as compared to FLOTUSes, don’t they? By that I mean, here in America, we expect First Ladies to take up (non-controversial) causes and charity work and serve as America’s Hostess. I feel like French people don’t expect that of their first ladies?
Photos courtesy of Backgrid.