Home US Melania is tiptoeing into the spotlight: The enigmatic former first lady is ‘easing into the Trump campaign’ after her absence fueled rumors her marriage was on the rocks

Melania is tiptoeing into the spotlight: The enigmatic former first lady is ‘easing into the Trump campaign’ after her absence fueled rumors her marriage was on the rocks

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Aloof and enigmatic, the Slovenian-born former model has been noticeably absent as her husband Donald Trump makes his third bid for the White House.

Melania Trump is said to be “reaching out to the Trump campaign” after her absence sparked rumors that her marriage was in trouble.

Aloof and enigmatic, the Slovenian-born former model has been noticeably absent as her husband Donald Trump makes his third bid for the White House.

She has also not attended any court hearings with her husband as he navigates a large caseload. Her first criminal trial begins Monday and her plans remain unclear.

The trial revolves around allegations that Trump falsified business records to cover up an alleged sexual encounter he had with porn star Stormy Daniels.

The 53-year-old was “humiliated” by Trump’s alleged affair with Daniels, according to one of her former aides.

Aloof and enigmatic, the Slovenian-born former model has been noticeably absent as her husband Donald Trump makes his third bid for the White House.

Their absences are unusual in the US, where the norm is for politicians' wives to show solidarity in times of crisis, which has fueled rumors about the couple's relationship.

Their absences are unusual in the US, where the norm is for politicians’ wives to show solidarity in times of crisis, which has fueled rumors about the couple’s relationship.

Trump, left, arrives with Melania Trump at a Republican Party fundraiser, Saturday, April 6, 2024, in Palm Beach.

Trump, left, arrives with Melania Trump at a Republican Party fundraiser, Saturday, April 6, 2024, in Palm Beach.

In early April, Melania Trump accompanied her husband to a major fundraising event where Republicans raised more than $50 million for his presidential campaign.

And on April 20, he will participate in a fundraiser for a group of LGBTQ conservatives, the so-called Log Cabin Republicans.

It’s difficult to say whether the former first lady is starting to make minimal appearances to curb speculation about the couple or out of a desire to help her spouse reclaim the White House in November.

For Katherine Jellison, a history professor at Ohio University and a specialist in presidential couples, the fundraiser appearances illustrate a significant turn by Melania Trump.

“These are just a few appearances, but they seem like signs that he is returning to public life and the Trump campaign,” Jellison told AFP.

Melania Trump herself had hinted at such a return in a very brief exchange with journalists in mid-March.

“Stay tuned,” he said with a smile, wearing large dark glasses.

According to Jellison, the former first lady might prefer events like the ones she will attend in April.

First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, right, waves to the crowd during the Human Rights Campaign. "Equality in action" event on Friday, April 12, 2024

First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, right, waves to the crowd during the Human Rights Campaign’s ‘Equality in Action’ event on Friday, April 12, 2024.

Trump takes the stage with Melania, after announcing that he will run again for president of the United States in the 2024 elections

Trump takes the stage with Melania, after announcing that he will run again for president of the United States in the 2024 elections

In November, Melania Trump appeared at Rosalynn Carter's funeral along with fellow first ladies Michelle Obama, Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton.

In November, Melania Trump appeared at Rosalynn Carter’s funeral along with fellow first ladies Michelle Obama, Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton.

“She seems more comfortable holding these events than the more typical campaign activities of a political spouse: shaking hands and chatting with a crowd of voters,” Jellison said.

She believes that style is best suited for Jill Biden, whose husband, President Joe Biden, is Donald Trump’s Democratic rival in the November election.

Jill Biden regularly tours the country, unafraid to venture into hotly contested states. And in early March she launched an initiative to mobilize women voters.

Melania Trump, on the other hand, hasn’t had it easy with her previous major public appearances.

His speech at the 2016 Republican nominating convention was ridiculed, and not without merit: Entire passages were lifted from a speech by former first lady Michelle Obama.

She also faced criticism on trips she took as first lady, particularly when she visited recently arrived immigrant children at a shelter near the Mexican border.

Former President Donald Trump, right, with Melania Trump, second from right, as they are greeted by John Paulson, left, and Alina de Almeida, second from left, at a Republican Party fundraiser .

Former President Donald Trump, right, with Melania Trump, second from right, as they are greeted by John Paulson, left, and Alina de Almeida, second from left, at a Republican Party fundraiser .

Melania Trump Hosted an Event for Log Cabin Republicans at Mar-a-Lago in November 2021

Melania Trump Hosted an Event for Log Cabin Republicans at Mar-a-Lago in November 2021

He was wearing a jacket with the message “I really don’t care.” And you? written on the back. Since then she has been sparing and cautious in her public appearances.

She came out of her silence in a rare interview in 2018. When asked about her husband’s alleged infidelity with porn star Stormy Daniels, she assured the interrogator that she had “much more important things to think about.”

It was the money payments that Donald Trump authorized to the adult film actress, shortly before the 2016 elections, that led to her first criminal trial.

Jury selection begins Monday in New York. With Melania or not, the former president is expected to attend.

Trump faces 34 felony charges and, if convicted, could face up to four years in prison for each of the 34 charges against him.

However, the 77-year-old is more likely to face probation because this is his first crime in the state.

Melania kisses Trump after giving a speech on the first day of the Republican National Convention on July 18, 2016.

Melania kisses Trump after giving a speech on the first day of the Republican National Convention on July 18, 2016.

Donald and Melania Trump arrive for the official launch of the Trump 2020 campaign at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida on June 18, 2019.

Donald and Melania Trump arrive for the official launch of the Trump 2020 campaign at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida on June 18, 2019.

Daniels told 60 Minutes in 2018 that she met Trump at an event in Nevada in 2006 and he invited her to dinner.

She said she met him in his hotel suite where they had sex. Daniels said Trump later invited her to other events in New York and California.

Prosecutors allege that Trump’s fixer, Michael Cohen, wired Daniels’ lawyer $130,000 to keep her quiet about their encounters.

Trump denies having an affair with Daniels. At a news conference at Mar-a-Lago on Friday, he said: ”It’s a scam. That’s not a judgement. It is a scam’.”

He said he would testify just as the judge refused to delay the trial because of the enormous amount of publicity surrounding the case.

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