Melania apparently isn't content to sit by while news breaks about her husband controlling the TV on Air Force One. Hours after The New York Times reported on Wednesday that President Trump blew up after finding her television tuned to CNN, not Fox, the first lady's spokeswoman put out a clarifying statement. Melania will watch "any channel she wants," Stephanie Grisham said.
The Times had reported that there was "a bit of a stir" earlier this month when the president and first lady traveled overseas together to visit the United Kingdom and other European countries. According to Trump's rules, TVs on Air Force One must be set to Fox News when travelers arrive. Instead, Melania's was on CNN, and it sent Trump into a "rage," according to the Times.
Grisham's statement may be interpreted as a rebuke of the president's desire to control the channels on the plane. But it's likely meant to be more defiant to the media than to Trump. Grisham argued that reporters should be focusing on more important issues than the television on Air Force One.
"Seems kind of silly to worry about what channel she watches on TV (any channel she wants btw) or if she heard some recording on the news," Grisham said.
Instead, Grisham said, reporters should focus their attention on the causes that the first lady is taking on during her time in office, like bullying and neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), a condition that can affect babies whose mothers are addicted to opioids.
"Did you know that every 15 minutes a baby is born with NAS?" Grisham told CNN. "Maybe you'd like to talk about the 160,000 kids who skip school every day for fear of being bullied, or that 280,000 students are physically attacked in schools every month."
While Grisham — and in all likelihood, the first lady — wishes to downplay the incident on Air Force One, it seems to have made quite an impact at the White House. The Times obtained an email chain between communications and Military Office staff in which they discussed at length how to move on. They apparently decided "that tuning the TVs to Fox would be standard operating procedure going forward."
Maybe the first lady has less oversight over her TV viewing habits once she gets off the plane. The Times reports that White House staff are ordering extra televisions so that both she and her husband can get in their screen time while they're staying in separate hotel rooms.
Of course, it seems likely that Melania shares her husband's antagonism towards CNN. Although she doesn't speak much about politics in public, she's made it clear that she supports Trump's agenda and has taken part in some of his more extreme actions, including his birther conspiracies about President Obama. She's also made it clear that she desires flattering media coverage (which she's more likely to get from Fox): Last month, reports broke that Getty Images had paid her $100,000 for a photo series of her, Trump, and their son Barron that was to be used in "positive stories only."
We can only speculate about what Melania watches when she's alone. But Grisham wants you to know that it's "any channel she wants."