America fought a major revolution to get away from royal dynasties. Nonetheless, we can’t shake one aspect of former colonial life: an obsession with our “king” and “queen.”
In this case, that means Donald and Melania Trump. When their marriage is going well, it’s easy to feel the country is safe and stable. But when there’s trouble in paradise, nobody knows what will happen next.
So, what are the most awkward marriage moments between the president and first lady? Check out our definitive list below.
Do the Donald Shake
Body language says a lot in a relationship. Do you greet your partner with a passionate kiss? A tight hug? In Donald Trump’s case, a handshake will do the trick.
When Donald met Melania at a 2017 appearance at a Maryland military base called Joint Base Andrews, they didn’t do any of that warm and mushy stuff you might expect from couples. Instead, The Donald gave her a really awkward handshake onstage and then quickly ushered her off the stage.
Melania looked more like a business partner than a marital partner. And based on this exchange, he could be saying “You’re fired” to her at any moment.
Getting ‘Handsy?’ Denied!
By now, we know that Melania Trump doesn’t like major displays of affection with her husband. It seems like Donald has figured that out as well. On a diplomatic trip to Israel in 2017, things got downright weird.
Donald and Melania got off their jet in Israel and were greeted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara. Walking down the carpet, the Netanyahus were holding hands like a happy couple.
Donald tried to mirror this by grabbing Melania’s hand. Instead of responding affectionately, Melania slapped his hand away like he was a handsy drunk at the bar.
The moment was genuinely shocking. You may never see a married couple act as much like strangers as these two did in that moment.
The Frown Seen ‘Round the World
One of the most viral moments about Donald and Melania’s relationship came from his 2017 presidential inauguration. It should have been one of the happiest days of Melania’s life. After all, she was living the American Dream, transforming from a Slovenian immigrant who grew up under Communism to the first lady of the United States.
But at one point during the inauguration, Donald turned around to talk to Melania, who was smiling profusely. Then, he says something to her. As soon as he turns away, Melania’s face turns into a sad, dejected frown, sparking rumors that all was not well between the two.
Her frown was so powerful that it launched the #FreeMelania hashtag that continues to this day — not the first or last time Melania would be part of a controversial social media frenzy.
Though, Grazia Daily speculates that Melania was not actually reacting to what Donald said to her, but to the serious speech that speaker Reverend Franklin Graham was giving at the time.
The State of Their Union
The State of the Union is a time when the president talks to the country about the strength of the United States. But it’s tough to buy what he’s selling when the state of his own union is falling apart.
At least, that’s how it seemed during the 2018 State of the Union. Melania and Donald took separate vehicles to the event. On top of that, the two had not previously appeared in public together for weeks before this.
Finally, Melania’s white pantsuit evoked the previous year’s protests (in which Democrats wore white to protest the election of Donald Trump). Put it all together and this was one awkward night.
For all his fancy education, you’d think Donald Trump would be pretty savvy. When it comes to your partner’s birthday, what is the bare minimum you can do? For most people, the answer is to buy them a gift.
But during an April 2018 phone call to Fox and Friends, the president admitted “I may in get trouble” because “maybe I didn’t get her so much” for Melania’s birthday.
“I got her a beautiful card,” he said. “You know I’m very busy to be running out looking for presents. I got her a beautiful card and some beautiful flowers.”
While the president is undoubtedly a busy man, we can’t help but think that he could have planned something special for Melania instead of making phone calls to his favorite TV show.
It’s tough to imagine a more awkward marriage moment than forgetting a birthday present. But what about messing up an anniversary due to your affair with a porn star?
Before the jaw-dropping Stormy Daniels revelations, Donald and Melania were scheduled to enjoy a romantic anniversary trip to the Swiss Alps in 2018. There, they could soak up some romance while Donald also attended the World Economic Forum.
After allegations that Donald paid Stormy Daniels $130,000 to stay quiet about their affair (an affair they had shortly after Melania gave birth to Barron Trump), Melania canceled her Swiss plans. She claimed it was a scheduling issue, but it certainly looked like a rebuke of her husband!
Putting in the Work… Or Not
What’s the main advice that marriage counselors offer to couples? That a good relationship takes work. Instead of taking each other for granted, each person needs to work on their relationship each and every day.
Sadly, Donald Trump never took that advice to heart. In a 2005 CNN interview, Trump revealed that his father “didn’t work at a good relationship.” And what about Trump’s own relationship?
I work very hard from early in the morning to late in the evening. I don’t want to go home and have to work at a relationship,” he told Larry King. “I mean, that’s it. A relationship you have to work at, in my opinion, doesn’t work.”
Considering Donald has been married three times, he may want to rethink this philosophy sometime very soon!
Jokes About Divorce
Donald Trump’s presidency has been legendary in one regard: the remarkable amount of his staff that leave their posts. Some leave voluntarily, and others are summarily fired. But the end result is that dozens of staffers have ended up updating their LinkedIn instead of continuing with Trump.
While that’s bad enough, Trump compared his wife to those same miserable staffers. At the 2018 annual Gridiron Club Dinner, Trump made the following joke.
“So many people have been leaving the White House—it’s actually been really exciting and invigorating because you want new thought,” he said. “I like turnover. I like chaos. It really is good. Now the question everyone keeps asking is, ‘Who is going to be the next to leave? Steve Miller or Melania?'”
Careful, Donald: you may not want to give her ideas!