Editor’s note: Recently, a story based on a source associated with Claude Taylor was debunked as a hoax by the Guardian and disavowed by Taylor. In light of this, we advise any information derived from sources provided by Claude Taylor to be viewed in the light cast by this revelation.
Donald Trump had reportedly drawn up plans to divorce his wife, Melania, but they were never signed once Trump pulled off the shocking win in November’s presidential election.
The president and his wife have been surrounded by divorce rumors for several months, sparked largely by the release of a 2005 recording of Trump’s appearance on Access Hollywood in which he was caught bragging about pursuing other women while married to Melania. Trump dismissed the recording as “locker room talk” and Melania came to his defense, but there has been an undercurrent of rumors that the pair were quietly headed toward divorce.
There may not be new confirmation of those divorce rumors. A journalist following the ever-expanding investigation into Trump’s alleged ties to Russia reported that Donald Trump and Melania went so far as to draw up divorce papers and agreed to a settlement, but those plans were scrapped after Trump won the election.
The report came from Claude Taylor, a former staff member in the Bill Clinton White House who has reported information on the Russia investigation from sources within the intelligence community. Taylor was the first to report several major stories on the investigation, including the existence of grand jury subpoenas in the investigation, though other reports from Taylor remain unconfirmed.
But Taylor’s report that Donald and Melania Trump came to a divorce settlement comes from another source. Taylor claimed that the information came from a reporter in the mainstream media, one who was unable to publish the story independently.
I was told this by a reputable journalist. They said the papers were signed but not filed. That's the sum of my information on this. https://t.co/hbvWYgA16J— Claude Taylor (@TrueFactsStated) May 22, 2017
The story would seem to back up other divorce rumors surrounding Donald and Melania Trump in recent weeks. In late April, Vanity Fair published a story claiming Melania was distancing herself from Donald and that their relationship had been strained for more than a decade.
A visitor to Trump’s home told the outlet that Donald had agreed to have a child with Melania “on the condition that Melania would get her body back” after the pregnancy.
Taylor’s report sparked even more interest after Melania Trump appeared to slap away Donald’s attempt to hold her hand during a visit to Tel Aviv. Video of the moment went viral online, the latest in a string of awkward interactions between the couple.
It appears First Lady Melania Trump slaps away Pres. Trump's hand as he reaches to hold it while on tarmac in Israel https://t.co/rWsYlrEJeS— Niraj Warikoo (@nwarikoo) May 22, 2017
Video of the awkward exchange went viral, making it the latest in a string of strange interactions between the president and his wife. Back in January, when Trump arrived in Washington, D.C., to prepare for his inauguration, cameras caught a similar interaction when the couple stepped off a plane.
In that instance, Melania also appeared to rebuff Donald’s attempt to hold her hand.
a very short story about two people holding hands pic.twitter.com/m2i7pn5a6d— Tasneem N (@TasneemN) January 19, 2017
Of course, it can be difficult to separate fact from rumor when it comes to reports of divorce for Donald and Melania Trump. The couple has been surrounded by speculative reports based on their body language or alleged inside sources, but none of these appear to be confirmed. Melania Trump has also stood by her husband through controversies, including defending him after the release of the Access Hollywood video.
Melania also shared what appeared to be happy pictures of their trip to the Middle East.
Melania remained largely on the sidelines during Trump’s campaign, making only rare appearances, but said it was because she preferred to stay home so she could look after the couple’s son.
“[My husband is] on the road a lot and he’s traveling a lot, and he’s not home much, but it’s all about the schedule, it’s all about Barron’s school and homework and after school programs,” Melania Trump told Us Weekly during the 2016 campaign.
“So when we are in New York, [our schedule] didn’t change much, and I want to keep it that way because I’m at home raising my child.”
There are some other reports that could confirm Taylor’s report of divorce papers drawn up for Melania and Donald Trump, including others who claimed that mainstream media reporters knew of the story but could not report on it.
[Featured Image by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]