Melania Trump said goodbye to her husband, President Trump, when he left China to head to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Danang, Vietnam. Melania was left on her own to visit China’s famous Beijing Zoo, hang out with pandas, and explore the zoo’s collection, but she saved a deeply symbolic visit for later in the day. After her chat with the pandas, Melania went to see the Great Wall of China.
Great walls and President Trump are often mentioned in the same paragraph, and for Melania, being in the presence of the Great Wall of China, a wall that was “built and crumbled and rebuilt over millennia,” could have been an intensely personal experience.
USA Today shared the first lady’s words as she stood on China’s wall and took in the expansive view. “This is beautiful. This is amazing,” she said.
Vanity Fair wondered if Melania Trump’s particularly pensive expression as she stood on the wall was related to worries about her presidential husband’s contentious wall-building plans. The outlet suggested that Melania’s thoughts carried her further into an almost inevitable comparison of nation-building efforts over the centuries
The solid rock and enormity of the project are awe-inspiring for anyone standing there, but the history of the wall carries lessons of futility as well as power. “Could it be,” wrote Richard Lawson in the Vanity Fair article, “that it might all just be some mad emperor’s dream? That the Mongols will always come, no matter what?”
Like Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge and wife to Britain’s Prince William, Melania Trump was thrown into a world of extreme scrutiny, where everything she says and her slightest gestures are examined in minute detail.
Middleton knew exactly what she was getting into when she married Prince William, but Melania’s expectations when she and Donald Trump married may not have included the endless series of formal duties and smiles that comprise her new role as FLOTUS.
The lives of the first lady and the royal family are filled with “protocol and formality…devoid of any real moment of connection,” but while Kate Middleton is seen as radiantly happy, many observers believe that Melania appears to be unhappy nearly all the time. Her time alone in China was no exception.
Despite rumors of her discontent, Melania Trump played her part well on the tour of Asia. On her own in China, the first lady stepped gracefully into the waiting cable car for an airborne ride to the Great Wall watchtower, signed a guestbook, and spent nearly half-an-hour walking on the Great Wall in the ever-present company of aides and security.
As expected, the former fashion model delighted fashionistas with her gorgeous wardrobe and runway presence. The L.A. Times wrote that when Melania and President Trump had dinner at Japan’sAkasaka Palace, she chose sleeveless red Valentino gown; in China, Melania wore a pink-cuffed navy Gucci gown for a state dinner with Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan.
While Melania may be having a hard time processing her new life as the first lady, she has support from Twitter users. One person tweeted that regardless of people’s opinions of Donald Trump, it’s not acceptable to hate Melania Trump just because she is married to him. “It’s sad to see the hate comments that Melania Trump receives,” wrote the Twitter user after negative comments emerged about Melania during her visit to China.
[Featured Image by Ng Han Guan/AP Images]