Thursday, June 8, 2017

Melania to the rescue? -- June 8, 2017 column


The White House is about to get more crowded.

First lady Melania Trump and son Barron reportedly will move to Washington June 14. If so, the move would be a birthday present for the president, who turns 71 that day.

No more will Trump be home alone late at night at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue with just his TV, his Twitter account and the Lincoln portrait to keep him company.   

Trump’s critics and many of his fans hope the presence of the first lady will tame the president’s restless urge to unburden himself of early-morning thoughts. His family’s move “is expected to lend some degree of normalcy to a presidency defined by its abnormality in substance and style,” Politico reported.

What? No more covfefe? No one will soon forget Trump’s May 31 tweet: “Despite the constant negative press covfefe” – an unfinished thought. Covfefe, a nonword, instantly became a punchline and a synonym for the president’s stream of consciousness rants. 

White House staffers and the Republican leadership on Capitol Hill have tried to discourage his tweeting. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell ruefully admits his advice to stop tweeting so much has gone unheeded.

Trump loves his unfettered access to 32 million followers on Twitter, where he presents his own version of reality. Many of his fans never see the reports of fact-checkers.

Whether Melania will try to change her husband’s habits, or even can, is doubtful. She says her main role is taking care of Barron.

Trump’s in-laws, who live with the family in Trump Tower and often travel on weekends with Melania and Barron, also will be spending time at the White House. 

Melania’s parents, Victor and Amalija Knavs, reportedly will not relocate full time, as Michelle Obama’s mother and Hillary Clinton’s mother did, however.

After a long line of first daughters in the White House, Barron, 11, will be the first son since John F. Kennedy Jr., known then as John-John.

Barron, who invited his entire fifth grade class in New York to visit the White House last month, will attend the private St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Potomac, Md., this fall. The private, coed school has 580 students and a 7-to-1 student-teacher ratio, according to its website.

Although the Trumps were married in an Episcopal Church, Trump has indicated he is a Presbyterian, and his wife, who was born in Slovenia, which is largely Catholic, said after meeting the Pope that she is a Catholic.

Barron, who decorated his room in Trump Tower, will also be able to decorate his room in the first family’s living quarters, a privilege other first kids have also enjoyed, according to the White House Historical Association.

Melania Trump said during the campaign she would focus on cyberbullying as her project in the White House, but there’s speculation she could change her mind.

She has kept former first lady Michelle Obama’s White House garden. Obama started her “Let’s Move” campaign against childhood obesity the year after her husband became president.

The first lady has not had the political experience of either Obama or Karen Pence. The wife of Vice President Mike Pence is often at his side and is known to be an adviser.

Pence has installed a beehive with 15,000 to 20,000 honeybees at the vice president’s residence at the U.S. Naval Observatory. Pence also had a beehive at the Indiana governor’s mansion when her husband was governor.

The hive is intended to draw attention to what people can do to help bee colonies, which have been in decline. Bees are needed to pollinate about 90 crops, including nuts, fruits and vegetables.

Whatever Melania Trump, a former model, decides in the way of a project, her wardrobe will be scrutinized closely. She made news on her husband’s first foreign trip when she wore a floral silk coat from Dolce & Gabbana that retails for $51,500.

A first lady’s role is not mentioned in the Constitution, but her influence on the world of fashion and culture, if not policy, has been undeniable since the days of Jackie Kennedy.

We can all hope she has a positive influence on her husband and perhaps can get him to think before he tweets.

(C)2017 Marsha Mercer. All Rights reserved

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