Earlier this week, the president of France, Emmanuel Macron, and his wife, Brigitte Macron, arrived to the White House for a state visit with much pomp and circumstance. The visit brought us the first state dinner of the Trump administration — and gave the French first lady a chance to socialise with her American counterpart, Melania Trump.
The two first ladies got a chance to know one another, and Macron seems dazzled by Trump. Macron called her “really fun” and praised her sense of humour. “We have the same sense of humour. We laugh a lot together,” said Macron, according to the Guardian, which translated a French version of the interview from Le Monde.
Still, Macron mused that Trump is “constrained.” She said that the American first lady “can’t even open a window at the White House. She can’t go outside. She’s much more constrained than I am. I go out every day in Paris.”
Why would Trump be unable to leave the White House? Perhaps it is lost in translation, but Macron may been referencing the heavy security around the president’s family. The Secret Service works incredibly hard to protect the Trumps, but the security team also hinders their freedom. We’re not sure how the Secret Service compares with the French president’s security, but from Macron’s words, it seems much more intense.
Still, Macron emphasised that Trump is kind and cordial, and lamented the criticism that Trump receives. “Everything is interpreted, over-interpreted,” she said, and explained that Trump “works hard to hide” her “strong personality.” It’s true that the first lady keeps a much lower profile than her husband, but in private, she seems to be a sweet person, and that is worth remembering. By all accounts, Melania Trump is beloved by the first lady staff, and these are folks who work with her every single day.
We’d love to see a bit of Trump’s personality shine through, but we know it may take time. In the meanwhile, we are heartened to hear that she treats those around her with kindness. We hope such kindness rubs off on other occupants of the White House.