20:42 GMT26 February 2020
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    US President Donald Trump and his family have spent one year in the White House. Despite her rare public appearances, the rating of Melania Trump has been growing, and today 54% of Americans approve of the new First Lady.

    Born in Slovenia in 1970, the ex-model Melania Trump is the first foreign woman to become First Lady of the United States in more than two centuries.

    Despite her growth in popularity after the first year in the White House, Melania Trump’s current popularity during the same one year period is lower than that of Hillary Clinton (58%), Laura Bush (77%) and Michelle Obama (61%).

    Melania succeeds Michelle Obama, who was a warm, sincere devotee to her children, and education, Myra Gutin from Rider University, an author of several published works on US first ladies, told RIA Novosti in an interview.

    Maybe in time, Melania will realize herself in a project or some initiative, through which she will be more present in the public eye and maybe the public will be able to understand her better, and the situation will improve, Gutin said.

    No Political Background

    Unlike her predecessors, Melania Trump does not have any political background, having instead been a model and wife of a businessman.

    Laura and Barbara Bush, as well as Hillary Clinton had the experience of working as first ladies in their respective states or as wives of ambassadors, so they had an idea of what to expect in Washington, according to Gutin.

    Another factor as to why Melania Trump stays out of the public spotlight may be because English is not her native language, and although she can convey her message across in English; her accent has been mocked and made fun of by parody artists and the general public on multiple occasions, Gutin said.

    The author noted that to date, the first lady has shown greatest sincerity and comfort in her communication with children. 

    According to Gutin, it seems that she manifests herself best when she is with children; she demonstrates her naturalness, sociability that is not seen on other occasions.

    Melania Trump had earlier said that her priority is raising her son Barron, and because of his schooling she even delayed her move to the White House for some six months. This motherly image is still with her to this day and observers can only speculate as to whether Melania will embark on some other initiative in 2018.

    Team of Professionals

    Journalist and author of several books about first ladies, Kate Andersen Brouwer, said that Melania Trump should really hire more people in her team to guide her and advise on various social and political moments to avoid public blunders.

    The opinion that there is a lack of "political flair" and lack of support for the first lady from professionals in the field of PR is shared by other experts as well. 

    According to Gutin, Michelle Obama was surrounded by about 19 members in her team, while Melania Trump's office so far consists of just ten people.

    First Daughter

    Shortly after Trump was elected into office, US media actively speculated that his daughter Ivanka could become the informal first lady of the US. 

    Soon after the inauguration, Ivanka, along with her husband Jared Kushner, was appointed adviser to President Trump, which formally consolidated her place in the White House. 

    Today Ivanka, mother of three of Trump’s nine grandchildren, is an adviser to the president on matters related to jobs, expanding economic opportunities and business.

    According to Gutin, at first it seemed like Ivanka Trump could perform the functions of the first lady, but that no longer seems to be the case.

    In Gutin’s opinion, judging by recent media reports, Ivanka (who is only 11 years younger than her stepmother Melania) is less visible to the general public than she was at the beginning. Meanwhile, it was the daughter of the president, and not his wife, who led the Washington Symposium on Empowerment for Women last Tuesday.

    The relationship between Melania Trump and Ivanka Trump is also shrouded in mystery. Both of them speak very kindly about each other, and they often participate in official events hand in hand, but how close the wife and daughter of the president actually are remains a well kept secret of the White House.


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    public approval, political background, US First Lady, interview, politics, White House, Melania Trump, Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump, United States
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