What a wild, totally unprecedented, and absolutely emotionally draining ride the 2016 election has been. With the Electoral College naming Donald Trump president-elect on Nov. 8, voters are now looking for clues as to what kind of leader Trump will really turn out to be. While his administration will certainly steer the nation to the right and his rough rhetoric is likely to remain problematic, could his wife aid in influencing his tone? What can we expect from our new first-lady-to-be? What will Melania Trump do as first lady?
Throughout this year's presidential election campaign season, there was a significant amount of talk about what a President Trump would do. We heard about his plans to build a wall, cancel the Paris climate agreement, suspend immigration from "terror-prone regions," and remove "2 million criminal illegal immigrants" among other things. Now that the election has ended with Trump nabbing the majority of Electoral College votes (but not the majority of the popular vote), discussion of what to expect during Trump's first 100 days in office has amplified. But what can we expect from Melania?
No doubt Melania has some big shoes to fill. First Lady Michelle Obama is so beloved by many voters that the hashtag #Michelle2020, a call for her to run for president in four years, began trending soon after Trump's election victory was announced. Yet while Melania may have spent a good deal of her life in front of the camera, she was significantly spotlight-shy throughout much of her husband's presidential campaign. The former Slovenia model rarely joined her husband on the campaign trail, opting instead to stay home with their 10-year-old son.
In a rare speech given last month in Philadelphia, Melania claimed she'd use the Office of the First Lady to combat a cause close to her heart: cyberbullying. "Social media is a centerpiece of our lives," she said "It can ease isolation that so many people feel in the modern world... but like anything that's powerful, it can have a bad side. ... Our culture has gotten too mean and too rough. We must treat each other with respect and kindness when we disagree." Although Melania made no mention of her husband's penchant for insulting and name-calling people via Twitter, the irony of her cause did not go unnoticed by voters.
With a sense of style more aligned with Jackie Kennedy Onassis than Obama, Laura Bush, or Hillary Clinton, Melania seems well-suited to the social entertaining and hosting duties sometimes required by her new gig. However, given that she was happier to sit on the sidelines or behind the scenes throughout much of the election, it doesn't appear Melania is likely to take on as prominent a role as her predecessor has occupied.