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Melania: Madonna or Lady Macbeth?

Melania has kept the world guessing about her true feelings for her husband. A world that scrutinises everything about her, including the wordings on her jacket. So is she a victim or vamp?

January 31, 2021 / 02:38 PM IST
First lady Melania Trump speaks during a campaign rally on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Atglen, Pa. (AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)

First lady Melania Trump speaks during a campaign rally on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Atglen, Pa. (AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)

Donald Trump has left the building, yes. But while he dragged his feet on the way out of the White House, his partner is said to have skipped out like a little girl. Her lack of any particular expression on most occasions has always kept the masses and the media awake most nights – is she an elusive enigma or just a dull doll?

Melania has kept the world guessing about her true feelings for her husband. A world that scrutinises everything about her, including the wordings on her jacket. So is she a victim or vamp? Are the ‘Free Melania’ signboards speaking for her? Did she tweak her pre-nup at knifepoint? Melania is turning into her own suspense thriller.

Will she exonerate herself in everyone’s eyes by dumping Donald or will she hang on and prove herself to be as dodgy as him? It would seem like she can’t win either way. If she leaves, everyone will bay for her blood for being an opportunist who stayed with him as long as the going was good, and fleeing when impeachments loom. If she stays with him, she will be seen as a gold-digger too used to the gold taps in her bathroom.

When her husband left without attending Joe Biden’s inaugural speech or even showing him around the old digs, Melania, it is thought, could have said, ‘aji sunte ho, Barron ke baap...’ But all she did was quickly pack a loud kaftan that she changed into before landing in Florida to sidle past the press with her frown intact.

Where Melania’s speech was thought to be inspired by Michelle Obama’s, Jill Biden’s teacher background stunningly flushed out poet Amanda Gorman. Usually social mores demand a good wife, but here if Trump is the baddie, then being a good person would require Melania to be a ‘bad wife’.

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Will they or will they not make some divorce lawyer deliriously happy is the million-dollar-question. Fellow ex-aide Omarosa Manigault Newman said: ‘Melania is counting every minute until he is out of office and she can divorce.’ Trump’s niece Mary doesn’t think they will divorce, though she does say her uncle does not understand 'affection or intimacy'. Ex-aide Stephanie Wolkoff spoke of the couple’s separate bedrooms and 'transactional marriage'. Actor Jim Carrey tweeted about the former FLOTUS: ‘Oh... And goodbye worst first lady. I hope the settlement can finance your life in the shallow end. Thx for nothing.’

Melania must be used to the malice by now, it comes with the job. While she was accused of not speaking up enough, her linguistic skills were never praised either. Actor Tim Matheson’s now-deleted tweet that praised Jill at Melania’s expense went: ‘So wonderful to have a First Lady with class and heart. And, can speak English!’ Previously actor Bette Midler had tweeted during Melania's speech: ‘Oh, God. She still can’t speak English.’

At fifty, Melania is no wide-eyed giddy-headed ingénue; her next move is known only to her. She may waltz her husband off into the sunset or plan on being a flower girl at his next wedding.
Shinie Antony is a writer and editor based in Bangalore. Her books include The Girl Who Couldn't Love, Barefoot and Pregnant, Planet Polygamous, and the anthologies Why We Don’t Talk, An Unsuitable Woman, Boo. Winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Asia Prize for her story A Dog’s Death in 2003, she is the co-founder of the Bangalore Literature Festival and director of the Bengaluru Poetry Festival.
first published: Jan 30, 2021 07:19 am

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