In 1972, the Republicans had a campaign button that said “Re-elect Pat First Lady.” Now that we are down to five serious candidates, who will be the new First Lady on January 20, 2017?
The position of First Lady is a difficult one. She is not elected to the job, but gains the position because her husband is elected president. She is the official hostess of the White House. She attends ceremonies and state functions both in the USA and abroad. She represents the nation on visits abroad.
She is the president’s most trusted adviser, but not a member of the cabinet. She is expected to be beautiful and elegant, but not so frivolous that she wastes money on expensive clothes. She’s expected to put her own career aside to act as political hostess to her husband, but not push herself forward into politics. She’s expected to get involved in a non-partisan cause or charity, but not stir up controversy. When Bill Clinton was running for president in 1992, Hillary Clinton (now herself a candidate for the White House) was criticized for having her own legal career and made the (at the time) controversial statement, which some traditionalists still hold against her, reported in Time and many other news media.
Ben Carson’s wife, Candy, was criticized by the Root for looking dowdy. Will the new First Lady be a fashion plate of elegance, or someone who doesn’t care what she wears in public?
Melania Trump is a former fashion model, known for posing naked in G2. Many people denigrate her as a foreign gold-digger who married Donald Trump, a man old enough to be her father, for his money. However, People Magazine reported Barbara Walters was impressed by Melania Trump’s intelligence. She speaks four languages and has a degree in design and architecture from the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia. She currently designs jewelry and takes care of her son, 10-year-old Barron W. Trump.
Heidi Cruz is an investment manager, currently on leave from her position at Goldman Sachs to help her husband campaign. She has two master’s degrees, one in European Business from Université Libre de Bruxelles in Brussels, Belgium, and an MBA from Harvard. She worked for the Bush administration as director for the Western Hemisphere on the National Security Council. She and Ted Cruz have two daughters, 8-year-old Caroline and 5-year-old Catherine.
Karen Kasich is currently First Lady of Ohio. She used to work in public relations and advertising, and before retiring to concentrate on being a full-time mother, was vice-president of GSW Worldwide, an advertising agency focusing on health care. Her twin daughters, Reese and Emma, are now 16. She is interested in community service, but according to an interview in the Columbus Dispatch, does not consider herself a traditional political wife.
“He wants to run, and I want him to run, but it’s not my thing. Politics is not my thing. I’m not going to be the spouse that’s at every event, shaking every hand, going to all the Lincoln Day dinners. That was never me. There are spouses who live for this. I wouldn’t care if I never did it, other than I am supporting him. “
Jane Sanders is a former social worker, community organizer, and college leader. She was also her husband’s chief of staff and policy adviser for his senate office. According to the Washington Post, she helped her husband write “more than 50 pieces of legislation.” Bernie Sanders is her second husband, and she is his second wife. She has three grown children from her first marriage; he has one son from a prior relationship. Together, they share seven grandchildren.
If Hillary Clinton is elected, Bill Clinton will be the first First Gentleman. As former governor of Arkansas and the 42nd president of the USA, it’s expected he will act as a policy adviser to his wife if she succeeds him as the 45th president. He will certainly have more of an insider’s view of Washington than any previous presidential spouse.
Half the states and territories haven’t had their primaries or caucuses yet, according to Mother Jones, so the election is far from decided yet. Who will be the next First Lady or the first First Gentleman?
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