This OpEd by Chicago Tribune columnist Dahleen Glanton caught my eye, and is worth a moment of your time too. In it, she argues that First Ladies have a job, just like POTUS. Melania Trump campaigned hard for that job, attempting to convince Americans that her husband was honest, kind and loyal, despite all evidence to the contrary. Her avoidance of said job is costing taxpayers money -- lots and lots of money. Her trip to the spa at Mar-a-Lago after the Stormy Daniels business first came out in January cost us $64,600. But she has made very few interventions into her signature issue, online bullying, or anything else for that matter.
There's something about the First Lady role that feels like it belongs in the past, maybe the whole thing about following the man to the White House and handling all the entertainment. But I was persuaded by Glanton's assertion that 1. Melania wanted that job and that 2. Americans want our First Ladies to be about something, even if we disagree with that commitment. Eleanor Roosevelt, Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush, Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama have wildly different legacies, yet they all did something more than "support" their husbands. I agree with Glanton that Trump has to toughen up. Ok, the author uses "man up" but today's men seem pretty fragile, so...
What are your expectations of Melania Trump (keep it clean!)? Are they being met?
From the OpEd:
by Dahleen Glanton
All this taking separate motorcades and hiding out at Mar-a-Lago — at taxpayers’ expense — has gotten old.
Each day President Donald Trump’s alleged cheating saga goes on, it becomes increasingly difficult to feel sorry for his wife. We have bigger problems in America than Melania Trump’s humiliation. The first lady needs to step up and start doing her job.
That’s right. Her job.
Before anyone accuses me of beating up on the pitiful first lady while she’s down, consider this: She campaigned for the job of first lady. She campaigned hard.
Every time she went to the public and asked us to vote for her husband, she was also asking us to vote for her. The president and the first lady are like a relay team — neither could win without the help of the other.
Even when it was obvious that she was uncomfortable in the spotlight, Melania Trump found the courage to get up on a stage in front of hundreds of cheering supporters and proclaim that her husband was the best person for the job.
She told us that “love for this country” was something the two of them immediately shared when they first met. She talked about “our partnership, our family and what I know for sure in my heart about this man, who will make America great again.”
She insisted, “Donald is a wonderful husband, father and grandfather.” She spoke of him lovingly as a “compassionate, thoughtful and giving” man, and accentuated her admiration for him with a kiss.
On more than one occasion, she pleaded with us to do all we could to send her family to Washington.
“We need you, the voter, to go out and vote,” she said. “We also ask you to bring your family, friends, neighbors to vote for President Donald Trump.”
Perhaps she didn’t mean any of it. Perhaps she never really wanted to live in the White House. Perhaps she bowed under pressure to join the campaign. Perhaps she never believed her husband could win.
It doesn’t matter now. Enough Americans took her at her word and gave her that unpaid, unofficial job she practically begged for. It’s too late for her to change her mind and give it back.
The first lady would rather we close our eyes and give her a pass. She’d rather we allow her to “focus on being a mom,” stepping out only for special occasions like Easter in a designer outfit to deliver baskets to sick children.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s great that she did that. One of the first lady’s duties is to serve as comforter-in-chief. But an occasional photo op of her doing a charitable deed is not enough. Every first lady who held the title before her has understood that.
The American people deserve a first lady who sets an example as a strong woman able to tackle adversity head-on, not one who runs for cover and acts like a victim when the spotlight gets too hot.
We want our first ladies to be determined, focused and committed to a cause, whether we agree with that cause or not. Sure, we like talking about the clothes she wears in public but it’s her work promoting the values she stands for that endears her to our hearts.
After more than a year watching her drift near the steps of one of the greatest platforms in the world, we still don’t know exactly what Melania Trump stands for. She has been so preoccupied shielding herself from her husband’s misdeeds that she has been unable to project her own identity.
There are indications that the first lady is a stronger woman than she recently has appeared to be. It has been reported that her husband was initially attracted to her independence, her ability to think for herself and stand on her own.
Where is that Melania Trump now? It sure would be nice to meet her.
The first lady is not responsible for her husband’s behavior. She should stop acting like it. Instead of cowering in shame, she should hold her head up and immerse herself in projects she feels strongly about.
Read more here.