When Melania Trump appears on camera, she looks as if she is either disinterested, terrified, or disgusted. She famously pushes Trump’s hand away from hers and walks with a robotic gait. Her “Be Best” project may have been nothing more than a dig at her “Be Worst” husband. Why else would a First Lady, married to a President famous for his crude, immoral, bullying, choose a topic that aims to focus on the exact negative pattern that defines his political image? As many former White House staff have reported in numerous books written about Trump since he was elected President, Melania does not appear to be happy with or emotionally connected to her husband. Is it possible she is such an inadequate First Lady because Trump has instructed her to stay out of the public eye because he cannot cope with sharing the spotlight? Or is it possible she finds government a big bore and would rather be hoisting cocktails at Mar-a-Lago?
Traditionally, first ladies commit their time and efforts to a project which addresses issues relevant to the health, education, and equal rights of children, women, the disadvantaged, or the disabled. Americans want a first lady to be strong and who supports the moral character of the President and his Administration in a compassionate, intelligent manner. Melania, like Trump, seems out of her league for the job. First ladies of the past have done much to improve the country’s morale and to solve crucial social problems through their compassionate and informed advocacy.For example;
Eleanor Roosevelt– Was an influential activist in promoting civil rights, women’s rights, and re-defined the role of the First Lady from domestic hostess to an active advocate on social and political issues. She was a writer, lecturer, and a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society.
Hillary Clinton– Chaired the Task Force on Healthcare Reform, helped create the DOJ Office on Violence Against Women and lobbied Congress on behalf of the Foster Care Independence Act. She was a U.S. Senator, Secretary of State, is an attorney, author, advocate for healthcare, and women, and children’s issues. She is also active in the work of the Clinton Foundation and its global causes.
Betty Ford– Mrs. Ford led the campaign for breast cancer awareness and increasing access to adequate healthcare rights for women suffering from the disease. She was a survivor herself of malignant breast cancer. She was also involved in championing equal rights for women and often lobbied for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. She was voted Woman of the Year by Time Magazine while serving as the First Lady. She also came out publicly about her struggle with substance abuse and founded the world-famous Betty Ford Clinic.
Laura Bush– Best known for promoting the issues of education and literacy. She holds a Masters of Science degree and was a librarian. She traveled globally to encourage literacy in under-developed countries. She was also an advocate for women’s health.
Michelle Obama– As First Lady, she advocated for issues related to health and fitness, support for service members and their families, higher education, and international girls’ education. She is an attorney, writer, lecturer, and remains one of the most popular first ladies of all time.To be fair to Melania, comparing her to these women and their accomplishments is like comparing apples to oranges. Melania is not an attorney, an author, an expert on world issues, or a government professional. However, during the almost 4 years she has been First Lady, she could have become more educated and more active on issues that matter to the quality of life of the American people.
Her “Be Best” program feels like a token idea someone developed for her to compensate for the poor image of the President and his obnoxious rhetoric. The initiative involves 3 pillars; well-being, cyber-bullying, and the opioid crisis. But Melania does not lead and inspire on these issues like her predecessors did on their passions. If she lacks confidence in her knowledge of the topics or her oratory skills, she has had years to step up to the plate and improve her abilities.Another advantage that the former first ladies had over Melania is that they had better, more qualified men as their husbands. The former Presidents seemed to embrace and champion the intelligence and ambitions of their wives. They were strong, confident men in their own right and did not need to continually have the attention on themselves.
Trump is a fake strong man. His size and loudness create an image of machismo, but an authentically strong man is not vindictive, secretive, narcissistic, dishonest, or insecure. Whatever strength Melania may show in her own defiance to Trump privately, she hasn’t defied him publicly, as can be noted by her lackluster performance as First Lady.ELEANOR ROOSEVELT MIGHT BE ROLLING IN HER GRAVE TO SEE A FIRST LADY WHO HAS DROPPED THE MANTLE SHE CREATED SO WOMEN IN THAT ROLE COULD BE STRONG, SELF ACTUALIZED PUBLIC FIGURES.