When they met, she was Melania Knauss, a Slovene model, and almost 25 years younger than her suitor, Donald Trump. They have now been married for 10 years and have one son. On the surface, most people think, “trophy wife.” However, those who know them say differently.
He is boisterous, aggressive, and deal-making—speaking out against immigration, as he talks about the wall he would build, and the illegal immigrants he would deport. She is the quiet partner, taking a back seat and barely seen or heard since he announced his candidacy—with daughter Ivanka having taken on the traditional role that spouses usually fill on the campaign trail. Acceding to Melania, with the Donald away so much, she has to be home and available to their son. She is also an immigrant, along with his first wife, Ivanna. Hummm, what would Freud say?
There is a theory that Trump keeps Melania under wraps because she could be a liability. She’s not politically savvy and is not the traditional spouse that voters like and can relate to. For some voters she could represent the younger woman their husband left them for, for others, the woman who they could never be with a glamorous life they will never have. During the debate in September when candidates were introducing themselves, all but one talked about their spouse. The Donald introduced himself and one of his accomplishments, Melania never came up. Now this probably says more about Mr. Trump than it does about Mrs. Trump—but she seems to be fine with her role and place in his life and future plans.
The Donald seems to have evolved in his taste over the course of his three marriages. Ivanna was glamorous, foreign-born—but loved the spotlight. She was outspoken during and after their marriage and has even written a book about their life together. She talked candidly about his affair with the woman who would be his second wife, Marla Maples.
The second Mrs. Trump was very different from Ivanna. She enjoyed the limelight, but their marriage was much shorter, resulted in only one child, and was plagued with rumors of conflict. Then there was Melania, much like Ivanna in some ways, but more discreet, happy to take a background position to her bombastic, billionaire, reality-show star husband. His type, but one who knows her place. Adoring, loyal, and devoted—just the way a narcissistic guy like Trump would want his wife to be.
If she were to become the next first lady, she would be a very different one. Foreign-born, not a native English speaker, and not interested in the glare of cameras and constant attention by the media. Everyone who knows her says she is a nice, kind person, a great Mom, and very into her family. She would be the stay-at-home spouse and First lady. What in the world would her social secretary do to fill her time? Probably work to find time that overlapped with the President’s schedule, so they could be together—meeting his many needs. This would be a real change from the Clintons and Obamas, even the Bushes—but isn’t that exactly what people say they want—real change?