Aaron P. Bernstein
A breakdown of FLOTUS's recent lawsuit reveals a more calculated agenda and raises some necessary questions about the Trump family's business interests.
Melania Trump is an elusive chanteuse.
While there’s plenty of information one can Google about her, there’s very little known about her personality. She often sits stoic, half-smiling, saying very little while looking perfectly coiffed. While people were discussing the policies of her husband, President Donald Trump, during the inauguration, attention on her was for her glamorous custom Ralph Lauren gown.
In recent weeks, the Slovenian immigrant has managed to stay out of the limelight by living in New York City and raising their son Barron while he finishes out the school year.
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But while attention has been placed on the White House, Melania definitely has been busy. On Tuesday, it was revealed that she filed a $150 million suit against the Daily Mail.
As reported by the NY Daily News, the 46-year-old former model claims an Aug. 19 article titled Naked Photoshoots, and Troubling Questions About Visas that Won’t Go Away: The Very Racy Past of Donald Trump’s Slovenian Wife, contained bogus and defamatory claims––hurting both her reputation and many business interests.
The article from the London-based publication claimed that Melania’s modeling career in the 1990s was a “ruse” and in fact she was an “elite escort.” The piece also claimed that Melania lied about how she came to the United States and how she met her husband.
“Mail Online’s conduct was extreme and outrageous and beyond the bounds of decency in a civilized society,” the civil complaint notes.
But the kicker is the lawsuit’s motivating factor.
In a nutshell, Melania is a brand. The mother-of-one sells jewelry, accessories and skin care products that have allegedly “lost significant value, and major business opportunities that were otherwise available to her have been lost and/or substantially impacted” because of the Daily Mail article that’s since been retracted.
The lawsuit also notes that Melania, “had the unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, as an extremely famous and well-known person, as well as a former professional model and brand spokesperson, and successful businesswoman, to launch a broad-based commercial brand in multiple product categories, each of which could have garnered multi-million dollar business relationships for a multi-year term during which Plaintiff is one of the most photographed woman in the world.”
And while Melania has come out to say she doesn’t plan to use her new position as leverage for her businesses, the lawsuit is telling of something we’ve noticed for a while.
Often the butt of the joke, “Free Melania” was the term coined to note her subtle reflections of unhappiness with her husband. Yes, there were questionable glances and gestures during the inauguration, but for a while, people have claimed the couple are in a loveless marriage.
If you look back, a sense of empathy has been an ongoing theme for the mild-mannered partner of the billionaire business man. They fit the mold. You know, the beautiful trophy wife married to the rich misogynist. Melania, Trump’s third wife, fits the role and plays it well.
But that doesn’t make her any less dangerous than her husband.
In a New York Magazine piece titled Compassion for Melania Is Misguided — But It Isn’t Wrong, author Jess Zimmerman notes the many instances where Melania shared the same opinions and nasty rhetoric of her husband.
Zimmerman notes: She’s promoted her husband’s twisted attacks on Barack Obama’s legitimacy, defended his “grab them by the pussy” remarks, and blamed a reporter for inciting her own anti-Semitic harassment. She may or may not be abused, but if she is, she would be colluding with her abuser. You may find that understandable; victims do a lot to stay alive. But its implications, at this level of influence and power, make it unconscionable.
And then, there’s the whole remaining absolutely mum on immigrant rights, as an immigrant, and women’s rights, as a woman. Her silence is deafening in a time when the majority will suffer at the hands of the minority.
Melania will probably get far with this Daily Mail lawsuit. Her attorney is Charles Harder, the man who represented Hulk Hogan in that infamous Gawker lawsuit that bankrupt the entire company. Nothing but the best for Trump’s wife.
But let’s make sure to keep our eyes on her. While the loudest people may start the fire, it’s those who choose to stand by and not extinguish it who should be most feared.
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