The distance, she’s said, is intentional so she can focus on the couple’s 9-year-old son, Barron.
“Isn’t he the best?” Mrs. Trump, 45, asked the crowd in heavily accented English. “He will be the best ever. We love you!” Like her husband, she is not given to understatement.
It was the barest of glimpses into the life of a couple who celebrated their 11th wedding anniversary Friday. Their relationship began at least six years earlier, dating back to the 1998 in Manhattan when the newly separated Trump asked then-model Melania Knauss, 24 years his junior, for her telephone number. She rebuffed him because he was with a date that night, she has said.
Would she now stay as far above the political fray as the couple’s triplex overlooking Central Park? That’s largely up to the Trumps, but they’re in no hurry to decide.
Through a spokeswoman, Mrs. Trump declined an interview request from The Associated Press.
In many ways, Melania Trump would be a first in American history: She’d be the only first lady who is the third wife of a president, and the first to be born and raised in a communist nation, according to Carl Anthony, historian at the National First Ladies’ Library. She almost certainly has shown more skin than any other U.S. first lady — that was her in 2006, very pregnant, in a gold bikini on the steps of her husband’s private jet in Vogue magazine.
By 2016, Melania Trump has gotten married, had a child and adopted a much more traditional posture as a candidate’s spouse. She wouldn’t be the first president’s wife to be born in another country — that would be Louisa Adams, born in England. Nor would she be the first first lady to have married a divorced man — hello, Nancy Reagan. And she’d be the third first lady to have worked as a professional model, after Pat Nixon and Betty Ford.
Experts on first ladies said Melania Trump is being smart by laying low now, especially if she is not comfortable talking about politics and policy. But eventually, they said, she’d be wise to build on what she knows. Melania Trump studied design and architecture at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia — so perhaps advocating for historical preservation. Maybe she’d expand her charity work. Even her model-perfect poise and ability to speak multiple languages could be an asset to her English-only husband during state dinners and other White social events.
“It’s best when they draw from their experience, and marry that up with the overall focus of their husbands’ administration,” said Anita McBride , who was chief of staff to first Laura Bush.
Donald Trump has signaled that his daughter, Ivanka, might be unusually prominent for a president’s daughter. He volunteers Ivanka’s name when asked whose advice he values. It was she, not Melania, who introduced her father when he announced his campaign. During breaks in Republican debates, it was Ivanka, one of Donald Trump’s five , with whom he huddled.
For all of her public discretion, Melania Trump has been consistently public about one thing: She’s more than an accessory. “I have my own mind,” she told Harper’s Bazaar in an interview published this month. “I am my own person, and I think my husband likes that about me.”
Note to Washington power snobs: Don’t expect Melania Trump to put up with condescension.