January 26, 2018

"The Quiet Radicalism of Melania Trump" — a NYT op-ed gets savaged in the comments.

This column is written by Kate Andersen Brower, a CNN contributor who wrote a book about First Ladies (“First Women: The Grace and Power of America’s Modern First Ladies”).

What's Melania's "quiet radicalism"? She's not making the usual public show of supporting her husband — like Lady Bird Johnson, Nancy Reagan, and Hillary Clinton.
Mrs. Trump is the most reluctant first lady since Bess Truman (who left Washington to return to her home in Independence, Mo., at every opportunity). Her apparent antipathy toward the job has made her more willing to ignore the rules and traditions that govern it. This quiet rebellion started with her decision not to move into the White House until five months after her husband took office. It gathered force when she swatted her husband’s hand away on an airport tarmac in Israel last year. By the time the Trumps leave the White House, Mrs. Trump may have done more to change our notions about this archaic position, which has no job description and no pay, and comes with impossible expectations, than most of her predecessors.
Samples from very highly rated comments:

"Oh please. Feeble attempt to turn someone's apparent passivity, apathy, and reluctance to engage with her countrypeople into something mysterious and possibly noble. If she had any dignity, we might have seen her putting a modicum of effort into her anti-bullying initiative. Or at the very least, giving us a single photo op in which she doesn't look like a pinup. Her aura is of a kept woman, the quintessential arm candy, so applying the word radical to her is a far stretch. And calling her circumstances more extreme or complex than any other first lady's relationship with her husband is another creative writing exercise. This whole thing is wishful thinking for sure. Go ahead, surprise us, Melanie."

"Oh, please! Still waters? I think not. Vain and shallow, with a permanent model’s pout....and a closet full of Louboutin heels. Bored and boring. Nothing there."

"Ummm. What? This is a woman who went out of her way to marry money. Obnoxious, rude, self-obsessed and disagreeable money. Whether she was set up with the Donald as part of kompromat way back when, or not, who knows? But there is nothing radical about aiming for a career as a high-maintenance wife. She may now be trapped in a marriage she dislikes, and one feels sympathy for any woman around Donald, but radical is the last word that would apply to Melania. The body language between this power couple makes that of the last days of Diana and Charles look positively cuddly..."

"She could divorce him. Now that would take real guts to do."

80 comments:

Rusty said...

Meow!

rhhardin said...

Outspoken radicalism means she's a public idiot. Quiet radicalism means she's a private idiot.

rehajm said...

Hillary’s not the President. Boo hoo.

Don’t we all hate first lady initiatives? School lunches, say no to drugs, they are all mocked in the end. It’s refreshing to see something different.

Kevin said...

"She could divorce him. Now that would take real guts to do."

The standard has been set. If Donald is getting blowjobs in the oval office the correct response is to say it's a private affair and blame a vast conspiracy.

Humperdink said...

The slanderers of Melania Trump were on a roll until I read: "She could divorce him. Now that would take real guts to do."

My mind then went into knee jerk mode and immediately thought of Lady Hillary.

Tommy Duncan said...

Could it possibly be that she is simply quiet, reserved and apolitical? Could it be that she doesn't find liberal causes worthy and interesting? Could it be that the "pinup" isn't an attention seeking political tool?

Kevin said...

They cannot let Melania, or Ivanka for that matter, become cool. That would inflate Trump's coolness by association.

If the sisterhood must be set back 100 years to do it, so be it.

exhelodrvr1 said...

"reluctance to engage with her countrypeople"

Have they seen the clips of her with children at day care centers, schools, the White House? Her activities are perfectly appropriate.

FIDO said...

Class hatred from the NYTs comment section. There is nothing that Melania could do that would make these people happy except smother him with a pillow or destroy his presidency.

They don't seem to realize that THEY are part of her dissatisfaction. Sure, she was a Trophy Wife with a straying husband...essentially like the husbands of most ultra successful Eastern European men*

But she was also among the glitterati of NYC. New York and the Liberals didn't hate Trump until the last 4 years or so. They were part of the 'in' crowd.

Now they have been expelled, expunged, and excoriated. They tried to destroy her clothing line. They made comments about her SON being retarded and abused. They post her modeling naked pictures from when she was poor. They made fun of every single thing she wears, says or does in 20 point type headlines.

Her former 'friends' are seeking to make THEIR lives as miserable as possible. And she can't do anything back at them. But she CAN do something to Trump.

So now another norm removed. We can now horrible abuse First Ladies %. Well done, Lefties.


Though...Melania is the first ATTRACTIVE first lady we've seen in a long time. Prettier



* Wasn't it the NYTs who told us that Bill Clinton wouldn't have raised an eyebrow in France? Suddenly the NYTs discovered morality again? Very unconvincingly.


% People hated Hillary because she was an unpleasant person who stopped being a housewife and started being a Politician in her own right, thus voiding standard First Lady protections. SHE was the radical one.

Henry said...

Misogyny much, Manhattan?

Ann Althouse said...

"Though...Melania is the first ATTRACTIVE first lady we've seen in a long time."

I think Laura Bush was the best of the First Ladies in my lifetime.

dreams said...

Yeah, Laura Bush was attractive too.

David Begley said...

TDS comment, “The only way we will ever love Melanie is if she files for divorce.”

Henry said...

Thomas Merton defines Tao: Chuang Tzu’s “middle way” [lies] between not having evident qualities and yet not being without qualities. The point is to have them as not having them, to excel with an excellence that is not one’s own but that belongs to Tao. Thus one is not admired, or even strictly “recognized,” and yet one is an obscure force in society none the less!

iowan2 said...

Kevin said...
They cannot let Melania, or Ivanka for that matter, become cool. That would inflate Trump's coolness by association.

This. The motivation for about 99% of the reporting is the fevered idea that President Trump cannot not be allowed to be normalized. That's why even reporting of the Presidents successes are followed with a breathless,but, while launching into some inane analysis of President Trumps motivations, or some worthless excuse about how every Starbucks employee, or Wal Mart Associate getting a raise in wages and expanded benifits is actually bad for middle class wage earners, and in fact racist.

Henry said...

Lady Bird Johnson had to live in the shadows of horrible people, but her wildflower center at the University of Texas at Austin has more worth than all the presidential libraries put together.

Bay Area Guy said...

Weird article, topped by typical snooty, neurotic NYT comments.

Temujin said...

NYTimes readers are a special lot. Aren't they, Ann?

Hilary had a choice between being an attorney and her own woman in the northeast, but chose to follow Bill down to Arkansas where he could fulfill his aspirations for becoming the Governor. She determined that being the wife of the Governor- even of Arkansas- was better than trying to make of go of it in her own way. She was probably right. And she took on her role as Head Bouncer for the Rapist-in-Charge with a seriousness that almost got her into the White House. She rolled over Bill's complainants and Bernie's voters (among others) like so much grass under a mower. She's the approved standard of NY Times readers.

By their standard, Melania is evil.

walter said...

"Her apparent antipathy toward the job"
"Mrs. Trump may have done more to change our notions about this archaic position, which has no job description and no pay,"
--
Not appointed.
Not elected.i.e. not a "job" to begin with. Though she has a paid staff..think I read it is half the size of MO's.
Having Bill as the first male first lady would have forced a different level of examination.

"a closet full of Louboutin heels."
I smell shoe envy.

"Her aura is of a kept woman"
Aura is in the eye of the beholder. With a thick accent, her background..and being a mom, I can imagine it natural to be a low key "first lady".
She's not angling for future political power.

FIDO said...

I think Laura Bush was the best of the First Ladies in my lifetime.

Well, not to put too fine a point on it, but I don't think we are talking about the same thing at all. Laura Bush has a 'lady's beauty': non threatening, and easily imitated with a little dieting and a good tailor. A beauty where one does not need to worry about being eclipsed. A 'prim' beauty. She had 'grace' (and 'Mom Hair') but I don't think she could have launched a dozen dingies.

Melania sucks all the attention out of the room and is every First Wife's nightmare, looking better at 47 than most women looked at 25.

So there is another potential vector of Melania hate: jealousy. One doesn't need to worry about hubby salivating or making a fool of himself around Laura Bush, something most wives tend to appreciate.

FIDO said...

And I have yet to see a picture of Melania as First Lady which would serve as a pin up. She certainly has a higher sense of fashion than any First Ladies I recall, but then again, most of the First Ladies couldn't pull off the outfits she wears.

Henry said...

In fairness to the snarky commenters at the Times, It does seem a very slight thesis.

AllenS said...

You want class NYTimes readers? How about this?

LINK TEXT

MikeR said...

Huh. Fake news, and the commenters are upset because it isn't fake enough. Enjoy your bubble, folks.

Roy Jacobsen said...

To the NYT commenters: Resentment is lethally toxic to your emotional and mental well-being.

Freeman Hunt said...

"her countrypeople"

Is she our queen? Hey, commenter, this is America--we don't do royals!

Temujin said...

One other thing- these same people (or their parents) loved Jackie Kennedy for the very same reasons they hate Melania.

MadisonMan said...

The problem with comments: There really is a time when it's best not to say anything, because to say what you are thinking reveals an ugly truth about you.

Many NYTimes commenters do not know this, apparently.

My own opinion is that Melania wears clothes very very well, and either has great taste, or has hired someone who does. She seems to be a very protective and devoted mother to Baron. She puts up with her husband's job.

Fernandistein said...

Ummm, oh please don't say ummm and oh please.

mockturtle said...

The comments say volumes about NYT readers.

Lyle Smith said...

Deserves the Hillary Clinton tag.

Ken B said...

"The comments say volumes about NYT readers."

Exactly.

Darrell said...

Imagine there's no Lefties . . .

Otto said...

Ann going to America's "heartland" for opinions on the FFLOTUS. I think Ann loves that Madison - elite association. Damn the deplorables, I am smarter.

Oso Negro said...

Lady Bird Johnson got Americans to stop littering. Well, the white ones, anyway.

mockturtle said...

One can imagine how, if Pence were President, his wife would be savaged for her plumpness, her plain dress and wholesome appearance.

Unknown said...

"Blogger rehajm said...
Hillary’s not the President. Boo hoo."

Exactly right.

Danno said...

Blogger Humperdink said...The slanderers of Melania Trump were on a roll until I read: "She could divorce him. Now that would take real guts to do." My mind then went into knee jerk mode and immediately thought of Lady Hillary.

If these idiot NYT readers don't see the hypocrisy of this, when Hillary has stuck with the ultimate horn-dog, Billy Jeff all these years, these are a special kind of stupid.

LordSomber said...

"Oh, please!" could be an appropriate response to just about any NYT opinion piece nowadays.

William said...

Laura Bush had a genuine warmth and kindliness about her. She was good looking but not in a professional or intimidating way. Even the Democrats liked her.....,..Melania Trump is as far different from any previous First Lady as Trump is from any previous President. I don't dislike her but she seems unknowable and inaccessible. She's strikingly beautiful and knows how to choose and wear beautiful clothes. There's a virtue to that, I suppose, but that's not a virtue many women get the opportunity to practice.......When the opportunity arises, she should push her husband down the steps of Air Force One and then use her stiletto heels to pound the eyes out of his head. That would increase her favorabiluty ratings among Democrats significantly, and we would read nice things about her in the Times.

Caligula said...

"She could divorce him. Now that would take real guts to do."

And maybe she could get an Order of Protection to keep him 100 yards away from the White House!

But why stop there? How about a "burning bed"?

I don't know much about Melania Trump, but, I haven't seen any evidence she's disloyal to her marriage. In any case, is there any word for this outburst of raw hatred in the NYT other than, "deranged"? For, truly, whatever Melania does or doesn't do, or whatever she is, is unlikely to have even the smallest influence on your life.

Angel-Dyne said...

What a pack of silly gossips.

I prefer my tabloid reporting* to have a little more class and verve than the NYT provides. Say, the Enquirer. The latter's writers provide the same product as the former's, but with a sense of humor and no doubt significantly more self-insight.


*Making up stuff about the private lives of public figures.

RichardJohnson said...

"Ummm. What? This is a woman who went out of her way to marry money. Obnoxious, rude, self-obsessed and disagreeable money.

John Kerry married for money. Twice. While it wouldn't be accurate to call Teresa Heinz Kerry "Obnoxious, rude, self-obsessed and disagreeable," that fits John Kerry rather well.

TwilightofLiberty.com said...

This is a lady who got savaged for daring to donate some books to a local library. Who got savaged for putting up what, IMO, was a very beautiful Christmas display. Every time she steps out she gets slammed for one thing or another.

I dont blame her. She didn't sign up for that. She just has the misfortune to be First Lady at a time when the country is filled with a surfeit of completely miserable assholes.

She seems like a nice lady to me.

Michael K said...

"Lady Bird Johnson had to live in the shadows of horrible people,"

Lady Bird Johnson, for all her charm, set the record for ignoring her children and acting as a slave to a domineering husband.

That "Johnson" must have been really something. He called it "Jumbo" to his staff.

rcocean said...

I'd agree with Laura Bush being the best First Lady.

Worst first lady would have to be a tie between Hillary and Nancy Reagan. I've never understood why such a great guy like Reagan had such a horrible 2nd Family. Patti Davis, Reagan Jnr., Nancy - bleah!

Barbara always looked like Bush I's mother. Michelle was OK.

Mac McConnell said...

The people that read the NY Times really don't know what Melania does. Does she rub shoulders with the common folk? Melania has actually made trips without the President, I don't mean vacations to Spain. I mean like visiting Texas to revisit the flood aftermath with Karen Pence. They ate lunch at a Corpus Christi Whataburger hanging with the common folk, the lunch was unannounced and a surprise to even the Secret service. Could those gals done that in NY?

rcocean said...

Have we ever seen Mrs. John McCain? I don't remember her from the 2008 campaign.

BTW, isn't Mrs. Trump our first hyphenated First lady? She wasn't raised in the USA, and given her youth, I think she's done fine with the First Lady role.

Mac McConnell said...

John Kerry and LBJ both married for money. I respect them for that.

Mac McConnell said...

What's not to like about Melania? She's smart, tasteful, beautiful and not a scold.

tcrosse said...

Do the Mean Girls not realize that everybody sees they're Mean Girls ? Well, fish don't know they're wet. BTW nobody does Mean Girls like gay men.

mockturtle said...

Nancy Reagan was, indeed, a Bitch with a capital B but she always, always had her husband's best interests at heart.

rhhardin said...

because to say what you are thinking reveals an ugly truth about you.

But it shows a sense of humor. Take your choice.

rhhardin said...

Who picks the chinaware if not the first lady.

Humperdink said...

The comparisons to Lady Hillary are endless.

Melania speaks five (5) languages: her native Slovenian, plus English, French, Serbian, and German.

Lady Hillary is also. She is fluent in her native language Lying, plus English, Profanity, Expletive, and Curse.

The Cracker Emcee Activist said...

Chuckian levels of envy.

David-2 said...

Melenia, pretty? Well, yeah, but what about her bare, toned, elegant arms?

Personally I have never understood why the First Lady (?!) has a staff of more than 1 (I mean, besides a Secret Service protective detail which is nor considered staff). Someone to help answer the mail. But apparently 18 paid staffers has been the norm, lately. Some say Michelle Obama had as many as 24. Melenia Trump has 9. I guess that means she's a useless slacker, huh? (Numbers are all easily found via search engine, as the numbers are public records.)

P.S. @Humperdink - pretty good! Hillary's also pretty athletic - apparently she throws china and other household items pretty hard and far.

Francisco D said...

Laura Bush always struck me as quietly dignified and lady-like in her demeanor, but tough as nails underneath. W saw some of his mother in her.

She also played a role in getting him off the sauce.

Whatever you think of the GW Bush presidency, he was a good, well intentioned man who picked an excellent wife.

Francisco D said...

Melania reminds me of Jackie Kennedy, but with a higher IQ.

Birches said...

I agree with the NYT writer. Melania seems to do what she wants to do. Whether it is because she is shy, or for other reasons, I find it admirable. TDS gotta TDS though.

Birches said...

I also love Laura Bush, but have any of you noticed that she does not photograph well in posed situations?

hombre said...

Democrats, particularly NYT commenters, are petulant haters many of whom choose to advertise those qualities as though they are desirable.

Martin said...

Haters gotta hate, it's all they have.

Interesting that as much as they all hate Trump, you might think some of them would show sympathy for Melania, being married to such an awful person, at least to the extent of wondering if she knew what she was getting into.

But, no, they just have to hate on her, too. We've already seen how the hate Barron, as well.

Such miserable, hate-filled people. What a way to go through life.

walter said...

"Her apparent antipathy toward the job" is putting a damper on the WH parties we learned to expect from Barry's first term.
Davos? We want Paul McCartney!

mikee said...

The donkey in the room whenever First Ladies are discussed is the continued marriage, sham though it may be, of Hillary to Bill, the world's most famous rapist. Dems should be laughed off stage when talking smack about anyone's marriage unless they first denounce Hillary and her enabling marriage a rapist.

Katherine said...

A lot of those comments at the NYT sound like sour grapes, or just ugliness in general. THEY don't have rich husbands, and THEY wouldn't want to marry DJT, whom THEY consider disgusting. Melania, in this view, isn't entitled to her own opinions.

I actually find a more private presidential wife refreshing. He ran for the job, and got it. She's running her life and not pretending to be an ancillary national executive.

Anonymous said...

I am trying to remember how Jackie Kennedy dealt with being FLOTUS. It seems to me that she was a very private person and except for photo-ops/command performances she spent a lot of time off scene with the kids. She was a smart lady and I suspect she knew exactly what shenanigans Jack was up to. Personally I think Bess Truman had it right. No one elected her and she was not about to volunteer for a larger role. Her job, she felt, was supportive wife (I know misogyny or something) and Harry appreciated every bit of her support.

Jim at said...

I think Laura Bush was the best of the First Ladies in my lifetime.

Yeah. And the left accused her of murder.

readering said...

From Daily Mail report:

One well-placed source said: 'Melania spends three to four days a week away from the White House and has stayed at a hotel in D.C. multiple times in January, often for days at a time. She also travels up to New York.

mockturtle said...

It's easy to shrug off the media attacks on Trump but it really makes my blood boil when Melania is attacked. I don't blame her one bit for hiding from the spotlight whenever she can.

FIDO said...

I agree Mockturtle.

Tim in Vermont said...

Whether she was set up with the Donald as part of kompromat way back when, or not, who knows?

LOL, Moose and Squirrel see through our plans again, my darling Natasha.

Howard said...

I don't why everyone gets so hairball over this issue, Melenoma signed up for being billionaire bimbo bling at the highest level. She's at work 24/7. It's her job to be a lightening rod and she does it with a plumb and savoy faire. The pea, however, is not under her thimble.

RichardJohnson said...

Michael K
Lady Bird Johnson, for all her charm, set the record for ignoring her children and acting as a slave to a domineering husband.
'
I don't know about how she treated her children. I got the impression that LBJ consulted her on political moves, which doesn't precisely fit the "slave to a domineering husband."

mockturtle said...

While most would consider LBJ to be a difficult husband, Lady Bird was completely devoted to him. If she was his 'slave', she was a willing one.

Bob Loblaw said...

Divorce seems kind of silly at this point. Both Melania Trump and Hillary Clinton were quite aware of the kind of man they'd married long before he hit the White House. The difference, I guess, is Melania hasn't assigned herself the role of managing the political fallout from the president's affairs.

The Democrats keep trying to get traction from Trump's mess of a personal life, but they won't get anywhere. The standard was set in the '90s.

Freeman Hunt said...

Melania seems totally apolitical and uncontroversial, so attacking her makes people seem deranged.

Bill said...

I would hope she devotes more time to her young son than she does to being first lady.

Unknown said...

Ya it's really easy to toss "radical around like it's always a bad thing. If the bulk of something is broken, then radicalization is welcome.

Sara said...

No, she won't divorce him. She's gotta wait another two years for that at the very least. The prenup probably gives her more. Also, remember that this is a woman who is typical of similar gold-diggers. Not only does the Donald have to maintain her lavish lifestyle, but it appears that he has agreed to support her family. Anyone thinks her sister is doing anything with her life in NYC?