Melania Trump hasn’t followed in the footsteps of previous first ladies and that is just fine with her supporters. Her move to the White House was delayed several months because she wanted to remain at home in Trump Tower and let Barron finish out the school year. Now that the school year is all but over, Melania and Barron are preparing for the big move to 1600 Pennslyvania Avenue in June.
Melania’s office in the East Wing is staffed by four people, making it seem desolate in comparison to when Michelle Obama surrounded herself with two dozen staff members. Unlike Michelle Obama, who kept a staff of 24 at her disposal, Melania won’t be compiling a small army for the East Wing. The overstaffing in government is one of the things Trump has honed in on and the staffing of the first ladies office with a couple of dozen people seems a bit extravagant. This is one of the areas that Trump plans to cut staffing costs, according to Redbook Magazine.
The last few decades saw the first ladies with a fairly large staff, but Michelle Obama has outnumbered them when it comes to people she hired on as helpers. Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush had staff members ranging in number from 13 to 22, depending upon the year. While Melania won’t be left short-staffed, she certainly won’t hire in droves for her East Wing office.
She has four trusted staff today, but she may hire a few more once she’s at the White House full time. For now, she’s content with the choices she’s made, which includes Lindsay Reynolds, who is her chief of staff, Melania’s social secretary, Anna Christina “Rickie” Niceta Lloyd, her communications director, Stephanie Grisham and senior adviser and chief strategist Stephanie Winston Wolkoof.
In Melania Trump’s absence, Ivanka Trump has been occupying the office that is usually reserved for the first lady. Instead of referring to this space as the “first lady’s office,” reports have the Trumps calling it the office of the first family. The same report from the Daily News back in February shared how not only has Ivanka taken up that space, but she’s redecorated the office. This is when it was revealed that the office is now called “The First Family Office.”
The change in the first lady’s number of staff members is one big difference Melania will bring to the White House. Melania and Ivanka are expected to work close together on the things that would normally fall to the first lady. This is another change, or actually a first at the White House, according to Redbook. This will entail the daughter of the president working closely with her step-mother, which is a feat that traditional families often find hard to do, but this step-mother and step-daughter have become close friends.
While Melania has been behind the scenes for part of the time since Trump has become president because she is living in New York City, it doesn’t mean she hasn’t had an impact on her husband. Redbook also reports that Melania is somewhat of a “watchdog” for her husband when it comes to the media.
She keeps track of what is being said about her husband in the news and reports back to him. As Politico suggests, Melania hasn’t been happy with the disparaging reports on the president. They also reported that Melania is “growing increasingly worried about the anonymous sniping from West Wing staff.”
Her concerns center on his press secretary and his press team. Melania believes that they are not doing enough to defend Donald Trump when the media goes off on attacks. Politico suggests Melania appeared “generally aloof” in the past and “removed” from Trump’s political operations from the get-go, but she is privy to his administration from the inside. Melania is aware of how her husband’s administration has been perceived as being consumed by infighting. She is also well aware of the on-going outside investigations.
Because of this, Melania has been speaking up when it comes to “the perceived shortcomings of staff surrounding the president,” according to Politico. Melania and Donald were introduced by a mutual friend, who has remained close friends with Melania. Paolo Zampolli, who was Melania’s former modeling agent as well as being a good friend, sees Melania getting very aggravated by these leaks and attacks on her husband. Zampolli said,
“Melania loves the president unconditionally, definitely, she really cares about the president, she feels a kind of protection.” Zampoli also shared how the “main concern to the president and the first lady is that these leaks are unacceptable.”
White House aides and friends of Trump have said how the president often calls Melania at night to vent about the dysfunction playing out at the White House. Her recent concerns, according to Politico are centered on Sean Spicer. She doesn’t think he is doing a good job. “The leaks bother her” and she feels Spicer and his crew are not doing enough to defend her husband, the president. Melania believes that some people on her husband’s staff are more interested in their own agenda first, putting their needs in front of her husbands.
According to a long-time associate of Donald Trump, Roger Stone, when it comes to Melania’s concerns, “the leaks bother her.” With Melania moving into the White House and being there for her husband to vent and discuss these things in person, she will now be on the White House premises to see this unfold with her own eyes.
Will Melania advise her husband when it comes to any problems with his staff? Not only does Trump love his wife very much, but he recognizes she is one intelligent woman who has great insight into people. Will her influence spark a shakeup among the staff, especially with those who don’t seem to be doing the president justice when it comes to defending him against the fake news allegations? Only time will tell how the inner workings of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue will change with Melania taking up residency in the people’s house.
[Featured Image by Thierry Monasse/AP Images]