Should Melania Trump ‘Escape’ Washington, D.C. Amid Husband’s Unpopularity?

Heather Tooley - Author

Dec. 20 2017, Updated 3:46 p.m. ET

While the public has warmed up to Melania Trump as the nation’s first lady, her husband has tanked in approval ratings. A new article examines how “tricky” it is for President Donald Trump’s wife to make appearances at events in Washington, D.C. due to his unpopularity there.

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Kara Alaimo of Bloomberg writes that the best thing Melania Trump could do for her reputation, as well as the president’s, is to “get far away from Washington.” Alaimo writes that Melania shouldn’t hide from people, but travel on her own to engage with people. Kate Anderson Brower, author of First Women: The Grace and Power of America’s Modern First Ladies, notes that whenever Mrs. Trump is out of Washington solo she appears “much more at ease and much more herself.” Examples in the article include times when the first lady was happily taking calligraphy lessons with Japanese students during the couple’s trip to Japan and when she was bantering with the Pope at the Vatican. She’s noticeably more comfortable at those times when she’s not in Washington.

Brower thinks that Melania Trump would be better off taking an approach similar to Princess Diana or Audrey Hepburn. She ought to travel and promote her causes where partisan debates like tax reform aren’t as heavy. Like the aforementioned celebrities, Melania could be the beautiful star who advocates on important issues by visiting schools, hospitals, and raise awareness on vital causes like education and the opioid epidemic. Brower thinks this angle would be particularly effective in red states where people love President Trump and are in awe of the first lady because they view her extravagant life as “aspirational.”

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Aside from being glamorous, Melania Trump speaks five languages and that also works in her favor. Many obviously find her enchanting, which shows in the latest approval ratings from CNN and Gallup. Her points in the CNN poll raised four points in the last three months and Gallup showed a 17-point increase since Donald Trump was sworn into office in January. Since she’s been more visible in her role as first lady and has been present for annual White House traditions during the holiday season, the public has a more favorable opinion of Mrs. Trump. Despite the president’s downward spiral in the public’s view of him, his wife’s appeal is increasing.

Will Melania Trump do more work outside of Washington, D.C. on a solo basis in 2018? If she takes her work around the country and abroad, it’s a sure bet she’ll score even bigger points with Americans and the world, something Princess Diana was successful doing many times over.


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