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.
During the last few months, speculation around the status of President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania’s marriage has been gaining momentum. We’re all familiar with the story: the hand swatting and general lack of physical contact, the sudden fall of Melania’s smile during the inauguration, the lack of chivalry on the part of the president as he often leaves Melania in his wake while meeting dignitaries, the apparent distance between the couple when they dance.
So far, Melania Trump has consistently denied rumors about a strained relationship with her husband, but people close to the couple have painted a different picture of the marriage.
Perhaps we have been a little spoiled with the incredibly warm, affectionate chemistry between the former First Couple Michelle and Barack Obama. They were always holding hands in public, exchanging loving smiles and speaking highly of one another whenever they appeared in public.
Portraying a healthy, happy relationship has been a hallmark of the Presidency for decades. There is a sense that the First Family is required to present an image of a high-functioning, perfect American family. Even through difficult times — for example, the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal — presidential husband and wife teams have always been able to maintain a unified public image.
It explains why the allegedly fraught relations between Melania and Donald is getting so much attention.
When Mr. Trump exited his vehicle to greet the Obamas on the morning of inauguration day, he left Melania trailing behind him instead of waiting to escort her up the stairs. Then there was the now-famous moment when Trump turned to Melania and said something which made her smile fall instantly.
The allegedly unusual behavior prompted social media users to start pro-Melania trends on Twitter, including #SaveMelania and #SadMelania.
Since the inauguration day, a few more incidents have occurred, increasing the speculation about possible tensions between Trump and Melania. On Sunday, May 21, Claude Taylor, who is a former staff member in Clinton’s White House administration, took to Twitter to divulge information he had purportedly received from a highly respected journalist that Melania and Trump had signed, but not filed, divorce papers before last year’s election.
I was just told by MSM member that Donald and Melania's divorce papers were signed prior to election and settlement agreed to. Then he won.— Claude Taylor (@TrueFactsStated) May 22, 2017
Of course, this is merely an allegation and it has not been independently verified. Nevertheless, the tweet got a huge reaction from Twitter users that led to an informal inquisition. One such user wanted to where the papers had been filed, but Taylor was quick to reaffirm that the supposed documents have not yet been filed.
Papers signed. Not filed. That's all I was told.— Claude Taylor (@TrueFactsStated) May 22, 2017
Others users weren’t buying the allegation so easily and demanded more proof. Taylor claimed that the reporter who provided him with the scoop was well-known.
A reporter well known to many said this to me. If they were ready to go on the record with it they would have reported it themselves.— Claude Taylor (@TrueFactsStated) May 22, 2017
My source is a well known reporter. Not household name level-but established and respected by peers.— Claude Taylor (@TrueFactsStated) May 22, 2017
After being pressed further by a skeptical user, Taylor mentioned that publications are loath to print stories before being absolutely confident that the information they received is one hundred percent legitimate and verifiable.
Editors. You wouldn't believe the legal and editorial hoops MSM have to jump through before they print or air.— Claude Taylor (@TrueFactsStated) May 22, 2017
Donald Trump met Melania Knauss in 1998 at a high-profile fashion event in New York City. Melania was born in Yugoslavia in 1971. Her father is Austrian and her mother Slovenian. Melania became interested in fashion and decided to move to the Big Apple to try her hand at fashion design.
At first, Melania supplemented her income by working in the modeling industry. She was the face of a watch brand, modeled lingerie and appeared in a Panasonic television advert. However, according to a report in the New York Post, According to a close friend, Melania was not able to survive on the money she was being paid and, as such, she was considering a return to her home country.
“She ran into Donald just at the right time. She was just about out of money, at the end of her rope and about to move back to Eastern Europe.”
That is when Melania met Donald Trump, the billionaire real estate mogul who was well-known in social circles and was also quickly gaining fame as the tough-guy who hired and fired contestants on The Apprentice. After a few years of dating, “The Donald” decided to propose to his new love with a $2 million diamond ring.
Of course, she said yes. But what exactly was it that drew the Slovenian beauty to Trump?
Melania told the New York Post’s Julia Ioffe that Donald Trump reminded her of her father, Viktor Knavs. Melania said her father “likes quality,” enjoys “good food,” and admires cars. Ana Jelančič, a friend of Melania’s family in Yugoslavia, said the Viktor is so charismatic that if “he goes into a bar, people pay attention.” She adds that “Viktor sucks the air out of a room,” and says of his relationship with Melania’s mother, Amalija, that “he is the strong one in the relationship.” According to the friend, “Amalija supports him. She is a wonderful mother and wife.”
Another similarity between Viktor and Trump is that Melania’s father is a “hard working” salesman with interest in real estate and high business acumen. Apparently, Melania does not dispute the similarities between the two most important men in her life.
“They’re both very smart and very capable. They grew up in totally different environments, but they have the same values, they have the same tradition. I myself am similar to my husband. Do you understand what I mean? So is my dad; he is a family man, he has tradition, he was hardworking. So is my husband.”
A childhood friend a Melania’s, Vladimira Tomšič, says that she values the traditional family nucleus, much like the relationship between her father and mother. Tomšič adds that this is “the secret of why he’s with her is her traditional values and the importance of family to her.”
During an interview with Larry King Live in 2005, Larry asked Trump if he was looking forward to being a father with Melania. Trump responded by saying “there’s nothing like a good marriage and there’s nothing like having children.” Trump also said that Melania would be doing most of the childcare work because “I’m not going to be doing the diapers. I’m not going to be making the food. I may never even see the kids.”
Trump also told Larry King that he’s not interested in working on a relationship, preferring to keep things simple.
“I work very hard from early in the morning till late in the evening. I don’t want to go home and work at a relationship. I mean, that’s it. A relationship where you have to work at it, in my opinion, doesn’t work. So, maybe I’m wrong.”
But what are the indicators that have led to allegations of Melania’s growing unhappiness in the relationship?
Some have speculated that she is not too keen on the central role that politics now plays in her life. Melania once told Trump that “he really needs to make sure he knows he really wants to do it, because life changes.” Melania has also thus far been an evasive First Lady, spending most of her time in Trump Tower looking after their son, Barron Trump, while he continues to attend school there.
There are also some indications that Melania is growing weary of Trump’s comments about women, in general. After the Access Hollywood incident involving crude remarks shared between Trump and Billy Bush, Melania lightly admonished her husband.
“The words my husband used are unacceptable and offensive to me. This does not represent the man I know. He has the heart and mind of a leader.”
However, Melania also subtly defended Trump’s character by asking the public to “accept his apology, as I have, and focus on the important issues facing our nation in the world.”
It was not the first time Trump had made disparaging comments about women and had often done the same to Melania. Trump has made a few appearances on Howard Stern’s radio show, and during one interview Stern asked him if he would still be able to love Melania if she “were in a terrible car accident, God forbid, and lost the use of her left arm, developed an oozing red splotch near her eye, and mangled her left foot.”
Trump responded by asking if, in this scenario, Melania’s breasts would still look okay. After Stern said “yes,” Trump answered that, in that case, he’d stay with her “because that’s important.”
During another conversation with Howard Stern, making a reference to his girlfriend Beth, Trump reminded Stern that “you said something a while ago about Beth that amazed me because it applies to Melania. You said you’ve never seen here do anything like, bad, in terms of her own personal.”
“You said you’ve never heard her fart. Is that true? Is that amazing? In years, three and a half years.”
Stern then told Trump that Beth has only “pooped four times in three years.” According to Trump, it was the same situation with Melania, adding that he had never seen her make “a doody” and that maybe “they save that for after marriage.”
Trump, while referring to sexually transmitted diseases, also told Stern that dating women was like being in Vietnam during the war.
“I’ve been so lucky in terms of that whole world. It is a dangerous world out there — it’s scary, like Vietnam. Sort of like the Vietnam era. It is my personal Vietnam. I feel like a great and very brave solider.”
Also while on the show, Trump made derogatory remarks about Melania’s body during her pregnancy, even going as far as calling her a “monster.”
“You know, they just blow up, right? Like a blimp — in the right places. In her case, the right places. I mean she really has become a monster — in all the right places. I mean monster in the most positive way. She has gotten very, very large — in all the right places.”
Hit image for a short clip of Melania & Donald Trump on the Howard Stern show. YouTube has more: pic.twitter.com/rGIFEkUTXa— RiotWomenn (@riotwomennn) November 6, 2016
According to a report by Vanity Fair, a friend of Trump once heard the president say that he only “agreed to the baby on the condition that Melania would get her body back.” The source added that Trump was “simply rude” to Melania.
“There was no ‘How do you feel?’ No opening of doors, making sure she didn’t fall. Just ‘You wanted to have a baby.'”
Michael D’Antonio, who is the author of The Truth About Trump, has previously told reporters that he witnessed Trump forcing Melania to “praise him.”
“He begged her to praise him [to me] as a husband…. Literally, he said, ‘Tell him I’m a really good husband.’ She looked at him, and he repeated himself. And she said, ‘Yeah, he’s a really good husband.’ It was being dragged out of her.”
As reported by the New York Times, Melania has broken up with Donald Trump before, many years ago. A former roommate of Melania’s, Matthew Atanianhe, purportedly said that “she had some trust issues with him at the beginning.”
“She was telling me that she wouldn’t have it, he was back to his old ways. She kept her apartment to have her own space because of this.”
While the couple was separated, Trump allegedly said that “Melania is an amazing woman, a terrific woman, a great woman, and she will be missed.”
[Featured Image by Michael Bocchieri/Getty Images]