No matter what Melania Trump does for this country, she is doing it for free. Any time or energy she puts into her role as the first lady is not monetarily compensated, as it is for the role her husband has stepped into. Unlike Trump’s daughter Ivanka, the president cannot give Melania a paid position within the White House, as the rules and regulations won’t allow it, according to the Express.
While Donald Trump has vowed not to take the salary that comes along with the job, there is still one offered to his position. According to IPL2, the president receives a yearly salary of $400,000 a year and is given a non-taxable expense account of $50,000. Staying true to his word, Trump has donated his quarterly payments from his salary to various charities.
While Melania Trump is given an expense account for clothes and is allowed to take gifts from designers, these items are never really hers. She must hand them over to the National Archives. Melania, like the first ladies who have come before her, is expected to fulfill many unofficial responsibilities. Despite these expectations, she is not compensated for any of it, which was the same for the first ladies in the past.
Michelle Obama gave up a lucrative $150,000-a-year career to become the first lady and support her husband in the White House. The first lady showing up at events is considered “ceremonial,” according to the Express. Not only is it ceremonial, but it is expected.
While some see the position of a “ceremonial” first wife as a bit archaic, others see things a bit differently, as described by the Denver Post. A recent article from that publication describes Melania Trump as a woman who was given a powerful platform she is not using to its potential. The article finds Melania quite “capable of tackling tough issues, of respecting the responsibility and opportunity she’s been given. And yet she hasn’t.”
Melania did not marry a politician, as Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Laura Bush did, like many of the first ladies through the centuries. The former first ladies were well in tune with what a politician’s wife entailed; they’d been doing it for years as their husbands climbed the political ladder to the White House.
As the Express reports, Melania Trump married a well-established billionaire and moved into an elaborate penthouse apartment high above the streets of Manhattan. While she worked as a model years ago, she’s been home raising her son, Barron, for the majority of her married life.
One side of the argument has people suggesting that Melania didn’t sign up for this and shouldn’t be expected to take on a role that she was thrust into by marriage. The role of the first lady in this nation comes with a lot of expectations and yet it doesn’t come with a salary.
It appears that the first lady is a role seen as an extension of the president, which sounds very similar to what the role of a wife was considered back several decades. While women have made great strides through those decades in the workplace, it seems the role of the first lady has stood still in time.