With less than a week to go until Election Day, Melania Trump is hitting the campaign trail with her husband. On Thursday, she’ll be in Pennsylvania, speaking about “what a Trump administration's vision would be like for American women, children, and families.” If this were a normal election cycle, there’d be nothing particularly newsworthy about a candidate’s wife stumping for her husband. But this is 2016. And Melania's role in her husband's campaign — or lack thereof — is far from that of a normal political spouse. Over the course of Donald Trump’s campaign, Melania has largely shied away from public speaking. Who could blame her? Her embarrassing quasi-plagiarized speech became one of the biggest story lines of the Republican National Convention, with some even speculating that her own husband’s staff orchestrated the humiliating incident. (In this stranger-than-fiction election, can we really rule anything out?) When provocative photos of her emerged in the New York Post, she was slut-shamed. That happened again when a (now-retracted) report in the Daily Mail suggested that Melania had also been a high-end escort. (She sued.) All of this, of course, culminated in last month’s Access Hollywood fiasco, taped just months after his nuptials to Melania, which only confirmed the public’s long-held suspicion that pussy-grabbing Donald Trump didn’t, in fact, hold women in the highest regard. After all this, Melania has emerged generally unscathed. She’s simply a hostage to her lech of a husband, the narrative goes. #FreeMelania. This is the way that women who love to love women have come to shoo away the problem that is Melania Trump. Unlike Trump's daughter Ivanka, who’s leveraging her working mom feminist shtick to offset her father’s grossness, Melania has stayed largely out of the spotlight (and largely out of trouble), tending to her son back at home.
She’s the archetypal trophy wife for the penthouse set, quietly and dutifully by her husband’s side, in those formfitting sheaths and “pussy-bow” blouses…ever the centerfold, but never the centerpiece.
Whether it’s Goldman Sachs banker Heidi Cruz or hedge fund managing director Mary Pat Christie, when’s the last time America met a political spouse with a mandate to just smile and look pretty?