Right now, Donald Trump seems to be fighting, tooth and nail, for another shot at the presidency. However, even some of his fiercest supporters are beginning to discuss the need for newer, younger leadership in the White House. And this means that conversations about Trump’s political career have begun to shift more to what his legacy will be rather than his future chances at getting elected.
In these conversations, it’s important not to overlook Melania Trump. While she wasn’t always very outspoken when her husband was in office, Melania did her best to improve the world around her when she could. And this led to a lasting influence and legacy that may ultimately overshadow that of her famous husband.
Just what is Melania Trump’s legacy, and what does it tell us about her future? Keep reading to find out!
A serious First Lady legacy
When it comes to Melania Trump’s legacy, we mostly think about the different things that she said and the actions that she took at different times in her life. But she ended up creating history indirectly from the moment that Donald Trump was elected president.
What history did she create? Believe it or not, Melania is only the second First Lady in American history that was born outside of America. The last time we had such a First Lady in the White House was when John Quincy Adams became president in 1825, making his wife Louisa (who was originally born in London) his FLOTUS.
As the world grows smaller and becomes more globally connected, more future American presidents are likely to have partners that were born outside of the United States. And Melania serves as a contemporary role model for those future women.
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Melania the fashion icon
Considering that she was once a model, very few people understand fashion the way Melania Trump does. And while she was already a fashion icon for her everyday style, she proved as FLOTUS that her sense of style also made her a very smooth diplomat.
For example, when she and Donald visited England, Melania wore a dress that was evocative of Princess Diana and other famous members of the Royal Family. Before she did this, fashion expert Kate Betts told CNN, “The best choice of outfit, in terms of diplomacy, would be to wear the work of an English designer or a young American designer.” Or, put more simply: “The first family should represent our country with dignity and pride, but it would also be a gracious gesture if they acknowledged the British fashion industry in some way.”
The complex legacy of Melania’s “Be Best” initiative
While she was First Lady, Melania Trump didn’t just sit back and let her husband run the show, even though this would have been easy for her to do. In 2018, the FLOTUS kicked off her “Be Best” initiative that was designed to improve the lives of children. Toward this end, her initiative focused on the physical, emotional, and social health of children.
During the time she was First Lady, Melania was very active with this initiative, and she traveled to far-flung locations such as Egypt and Kenya in order to promote it. She also went to various hospitals where she could visit sick children.
At the time, this initiative received criticism from political opponents, many of whom pointed out that she seemed to be clumsily copying Michelle Obama’s “Be Better” initiative. Still, Melania’s actions showcase the importance of future First Ladies using their power and influence to improve the world around them.
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She remains both fearless and controversial
Melania may be a fashion icon, but some of her fashion moments were a source of great controversy. And none of these moments were more controversial than when she wore a green jacket with a simple message on the back: “I don’t really care, do u?”
It’s tough to say what Melania was originally hoping to accomplish, but the timing of her jacket choice couldn’t be worse. At the time, Donald Trump was traveling to visit immigrant children that had been separated from their parents. This was a major controversy Donald was caught in the middle of (and many would say was responsible for), and it really looked like Melania’s message was dismissing concerns about the children’s welfare.
Later, she told ABC News that the message “was for the people and for the left-wing media who are criticizing me and I want to show them that I don’t care,” which contradicted previous statements from Donald Trump’s spokesperson that the jacket held no hidden meaning.
Ultimately, this strange incident remains a powerful aspect of Melania’s legacy. When she has something to say, she’s not afraid to get very direct and very blunt, even if it hurts her husband’s career. In a world where women are still encouraged by powerful patriarchal forces to sit back and stay silent, Melania remains unafraid to let the world know exactly how she feels, providing a role model for future generations of women.