Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Sticking To The Myth

Melania Trump told The Washington Post in July 2016 “We like to do what we like to do, and we give ourselves and each other space.  I allowed him to do, to have his passion and his dreams come true, and he let me do the same."

If only the Administration would stick to that line.

They are not, as you would expect. Jordon, Heil, and Dawsey of The Washington Post have reported 

The Trumps are often apart even during their free time, according to several people who know the couple's schedules. At Mar-a-Lago on holidays and  weekends, the president golfs or dines with politicians, businesss executives and media personalities on the patio, while melania is often nowhere to be seen. According to several current and former aides, the president and first lady often do not eat together in the White House either.

Nothing scandalous or salacious about that, nor that

According to several White House staff members, Melania has erected a de facto wall between the East Wing, where she is renovating her office and enjoying growing popularity, and the West Wing, where her husband and Ivanka Trump, her oldest stepdaughter, have offices.

While she goes to the west Wing for offical duties, she does not walk down the hall, pop her head in and  see how the president's day is going.

She seldom sets foot in the West Wing," said one person with firsthand knowledge.

Jordan/Heil/Dawsey add

Melania grants few interviews and declined to speak for this article, but during the campaign she told The Washinton Post that she and her husband are "very independent," adding "We give ourselves and each other space.

According to several people who know the couple, that space appears to have grown wider under the White House roof....

Sarah H. Sanders was asked at Monday's news conference about the Post's revelation "there are persistent rumors that Mrs. Trump does not live in this White House and that she lives with her parents somewhere in the suburbs."

The son of Donald and Melania Barron- to whom The Post notes his mother is close- attends school there. If the rumor is accurate, Sanders could have noted the mother's dedication to her son, and even the President's commitment to his son's education and to his maternal grandparents.

She could have done that. But of course, she didn't, opting instead for

I make of the fact that just when you think the Washington Post can’t get things any more wrong, they do, and that that is an outrageous and ridiculous claim. The First Lady lives here at the White House. We see her regularly. And I think that’s something that belongs in tabloid gossip, not on the front pages of the Washington Post. And I hope that they’ll do better next time.

She might have emphasized how dedicated the parents are to their son.  Even better, something akin to the following:

As the reporters conceded, a former advisor to the First Lady noted "they have an unspoken affinity." They are in that way similar to many marriages in America that work. Each has important roles to fulfill for this country and its people, and they do that effectively while continually working to strengthen their own relationship.  

There may be some controversy- and it's inflated- because the marriage does not fit the conventional stereotype in which both individuals were born in this country and the husband as well as the wife is in his first marriage. But just as the First Lady is like so many other women, born abroad yet a proud American, this marriage is like so many others in which the lack of a public show of affection should not mask the love each person has for one another.

A feeling of nausea might have come over the skeptical press corps and even over a segment of the public.  And this might not even  be an accurate description of the Trump-Knauss marriage.

Nevertheless, it would have thrown the issue back to the media, which would have not been so politically incorrect as to pick a fight with this depiction of this marriage, or of any marriage. However, Sanders would not have had taken the opportunity to slam the Post as "tabloid gossip." Further, it would have eroded ever so slightly the image Donald Trump has so assiduously cultivated and which was central to his nomination (especially) and election (secondarily).

He might not have been seen as much as a winner, as the guy who always gets the girl and better yet, the trophy wife.  Maintaining the perception- whether fiction or reality- that there is no flaw in the marriage is central to maintaining the image.  Suggesting any weakness would have reminded the public- and informed people who aren't aware- that most American families circa 2018 do not fit the pattern of June and Ward Cleaver or, for that matter, the Obamas.

Sanders knew that one or more questions about The Washington Post article would be asked, and could have had one of President Trump's speechwriters prepare an eloquent, possibly elegant, response better than what I wrote above. It also would have served an important public purpose in indirectly acknowledging that the "family values" srategy made famous by the GOP beginning in the 1980s has far outstripped the reality of American life.

Donald Trump as a candidate challenged traditional American values in the worst way, to the detriment of the nation. Here, his press secretary could have done so in the best way and made a singular contribution to our understanding of ourselves as a people. If for that reason alone, it was completely avoided.

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