Between the public and private lives of first couples, it can be a little difficult to understand their relationships. But sometimes, given the comments they slip about each other here and there, you can learn an ostensibly good deal about presidents and their wives. Based on that topic, Donald Trump's quotes about Melania and Barack Obama's about Michelle show what both presidents think of their beloveds — and how they navigate the ever-demanding world of marriage.
Even before they became the first couple, Trump and Melania's relationship invoked curiosity among some people. In fact, in 2005, CNN's Larry King interviewed the affluent couple, who, among other things, discussed how they tackled disagreement. "We were together five years. We literally have never had an argument or — forget about the word 'fight.' We’ve never even had an argument," Trump told King in 2005. "We just are very compatible. We get along."
When it came to keeping a level-headed perspective on life, Obama told Oprah Winfrey in 2011 that Michelle was his guiding light. "Obviously I couldn't have done anything that I've done without Michelle," Obama said then. "You were asking earlier what keeps me sane, what keeps me balanced, what allows me to deal with the pressure. It is this young lady right here... Not only has she been a great first lady, she is just my rock. I count on her in so many ways every single day."
Their views on parenting are also quite different. Trump told King in the 2005 interview, "If you have the money, having children is great."
"Now, I know Melania," Trump went on to say. "I’m not going to be doing the diapers, I’m not going to be making the food, I may never even see the kids. She’ll be an unbelievable mother. I’ll be a good father." Melania seemed to echo Trump's views in an interview with Parenting.com in 2012. "I didn’t want him to change the diapers or put Barron to bed," she told the outlet. "I love every minute of it."
Obama, however, dispensed more measured words. In 2013, Obama told Vogue that Michelle was a "great mom" and added that parenting needed to be a team effort.
"It's not as if Michelle is thinking in terms of, 'How do I cater to my husband?' I think it's much more, 'We’re a team, and how do I make sure that this guy is together enough that he's paying attention to his girls and not forgetting the basketball game that he’s supposed to be going to on Sunday?' So she's basically managing me quite effectively," he said.
Obama has also expressed his joy for Michelle's success, saying that it didn't make him feel uncomfortable. In 2008, Obama told Marie Claire, "I didn't feel threatened by that at all. My grandmother generally earned more than my grandfather when I was in high school, so that probably makes me more comfortable with some of these issues than others would be."
Both presidents have discussed their wives as first ladies — in their own styles. During a South Carolina rally in June 2018, Trump spoke Melania's role as a first lady with more emphasis on her fashion. "[Melania] has got a great style," Trump said then. "We greeted today the King of Jordan and the Queen of Jordan and it was like a picture. I watched the three of them, the king, the queen and the first lady, I stood back and watched; I didn't want to destroy that picture ... She has done a tremendous job as first lady."
In 2016, Obama told Vogue that Michelle didn't expect to become the first lady but handled the role with aplomb. "Michelle never asked to be First Lady," he told the magazine. "Like a lot of political spouses, the role was thrust upon her. But I always knew she’d be incredible at it, and put her own unique stamp on the job."
And when it comes to traveling, Trump has voiced his worries about Melania and her safety as a first lady. Consider his concern for Melania's trip to the troops in Iraq in December. "I had concerns for the first lady, I will tell you," Trump said. "But if you would have see what we had to go through in the darkened plane with all window closed with no light anywhere. Pitch black. I’ve been on many airplanes. All types and shapes and sizes ... So did I have a concern? Yes, I had a concern."
Whether it's the Obamas or the Trumps, it looks like both first couples have their own unique styles of expressing companionship.