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The Thing About Melania

In early October and in the midst of the midterm elections, First Lady Melania Trump embarked on her first diplomatic trip to Africa. She promoted her BE BEST initiative, which was essentially targeted at helping children live their best lives. 

via: NBC News

On Wednesday, November 14, Mira Ricardel, deputy national security advisor to the White House, was ousted from her duties — not by the volition of President Trump, but rather Mrs. Trump.  A spokeswoman for the First Lady said, “it is the position of the Office of the First Lady that she no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House.” 

This abrupt jump from the comparatively relaxed duties of the East Wing into the mire of the West has forced many to reconsider the role of the First Lady in politics.  Historically, they have always had a significant amount of sway over their husbands—just see how Nancy Reagan influenced the resignation of then Chief of Staff Donald Regan (a considerably higher rank than what Ricardel held) in the 1980s.  The case right now with Melania, though, is different.  Since Trump’s inauguration into office and even before, she has been portrayed mainly as a brainless doll, crafty gold-digger, and sometimes both at once, riding on the coattails of her husband’s success to cement her own place in society.  This is a far cry from Nancy Reagan’s image as the ‘guardian’ of her husband, and more recently, Michelle Obama’s household status.  In an era where feminist movements are supposedly at an all-time high, Mrs. Trump has seemingly and willfully been left behind. 

So, what exactly is Melania’s deal?  It appears to be harder and harder to pinpoint her goals, and with this latest scuffle, her image.  Should we be expecting more of her office’s intrusions into hard political dealings, or was this a one-time occurrence?  Whatever it may be, a guaranteed takeaway from this is that First Ladies are no longer just props to the President—they are forces of their own.

Sources:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/nancy-reagan-dies-at-94-first-lady-was-a-defining-figure-of-the-1980s/2016/03/06/50966804-e3b9-11e5-b0fd-073d5930a7b7_story.html?utm_term=.0fb40cc1aff6

https://www.nytimes.com/1987/02/21/us/reagan-caught-in-feud-between-wife-and-aide.html

https://www.whitehouse.gov/bebest/

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/03/us/melania-trump-africa-trip.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/14/us/politics/mira-ricardel-melania-trump.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/13/us/politics/melania-trump-mira-ricardel.html

I am currently a Duke freshman. This is my first year writing for Her Campus. Hooray!
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