One of Donald Trump’s favorite devices to spread vicious rumors and insane conspiracy theories is to attribute whatever idea he can’t rationally affirm without total ridicule as something that “a lot of people are saying.”
The Associated Press turned the president’s favorite trick of plausible deniability against Trump himself today by pointing out that a lot of people are commenting on the lack of public support he’s receiving from his third wife Melania since he was impeached by the House of Representatives — particularly when compared to the two First Ladies of presidents impeached in the last 50 years.
“Hillary Clinton spent the morning of her husband’s impeachment visiting Capitol Hill to rally Democrats to his side. Pat Nixon kept assuring reporters her husband wouldn’t quit — right up until he did,” the AP article begins.
The former nude model turned presidential wife, meanwhile, has been comparatively silent in defending her husband compared to her predecessors in this situation.
“Like every first lady, she’s sort of trying to forge her own path through this,” Tammy Vigil, a Boston University communications professor and author of a book about Melania Trump and Michelle Obama, charitably stated. “In this particular case, she doesn’t really have a whole lot of history to look toward.”
While cultivating an air of silence and mystery has been Melania Trump’s usual M.O. since her husband unexpectedly won the presidency, one would expect that a First Lady would be more aggressively defending her meal ticket in a normal, healthy relationship.
Donald Trump himself — in his typical pathetic bleating about his victimization by the impeachment process — has complained about the “great damage and hurt” that has been “inflicted upon wonderful and loving members of my family.”
However, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham dared to contradict the president when it comes to his wife — her previous employer — with a defensive statement that implied that any questions about the First Lady’s willingness to speak out on behalf of her husband are politically-motivated.
“As always, Mrs. Trump is focused on being a mother and wife, and is busy serving our great nation,” said Grisham. “She is very strong, and after many years now, has become used to political harassment.”
Melania’s silence on the impeachment proceedings is the same response she has provided to much of the negative news about her husband, including the multiple reports of his infidelities with both an adult film actress, Stormy Daniels, and with a Playboy model, Karen McDougal.
Perhaps the First Lady’s reluctance to defend the president is related to her latent resentment over the indignities she’s had to endure on his behalf, from the highly publicized evidence of adultery to the flagrant daily violations that Trump commits against Melania’s signature White House initiative, the “Be Best” anti-cyberbullying campaign.
Either way, one can hardly fault the First Lady for her reluctance to go out on a limb to defend her husband.
Besides the embarrassment that she’s had to endure by virtue of her marital choice and the speculated motivations behind it, who knows what inside information she may be privy to that is preventing her from loudly proclaiming the innocence of Donald Trump from the rooftops?
Whatever her reasons, Donald Trump hardly needs Melania to act as his protector when he has nearly the entire Republican party sacrificing their integrity, credibility, and future electoral chances to loudly dissemble about his total exoneration because of that “perfect” call or whichever excuse they are trying to pawn off this week.
For once, Melania Trump is following her own advice and choosing to “be best” by being quiet.
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Original reporting by Darlene Superville at Associated Press News.
Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.