First Lady Melania Trump Close Up

America’s First Lady, Melania Trump, is arguably the most complex woman in the nation’s history to hold that title. With the grace and poise that may exceed that of Jackie Kennedy, this foreign-born super model has a checkered past and a rather mysterious present. The general public seems to admire her, but knows little about her. Here are some facts you need to know about the elusive celebrity hostess of your White House.

Like it or not, when America elects a president, it also elects a First Lady. President Trump came to the White House as an anomaly to say the least. It is only fitting that he brought with him an equally enigmatic spouse. Born April 26, 1970, in Novo Mesto, Slovenia (then part of communist Yugoslavia) as Melanija Knavs (pr. “navs,” [j’s and k’s are silent in Slovenian]), she grew up in a modest home with her older sister, Ines. Her father, Viktor Knavs, was a card-carrying communist who managed a state-owned car dealership. Her mother, Amalija Knavs, worked in a children’s clothing factory as a designer. Melania was closer to her mother than to her father who traveled a lot on business. She has a half-brother, Denis Cigelnjak, from her father’s out-of-wedlock relationship that none of the family including Viktor has ever met. I have to wonder when Denis is going to show up on a liberal media newscast as another thorn in the Trump family’s side.

At age 16, Melania obtained some local modeling gigs. The family moved to the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana where Melania was quickly scouted as a model. Her father’s fortunes in the car business increased with his Communist Party affinity, and he drove a Maserati during Melania’s high school years. She enrolled in Ljubljana University in 1987 majoring in art and design, but dropped out after a year to pursue a modeling career. She and her sister moved to Milan then Paris as both began working with well-known photographers. They changed their last names to Knauss (pr. “noss”), the Germanized name for Knavs. Melania Knauss moved to New York in 1996 where she landed covers on magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar, Vanity Fair, GQ, and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. She posed nude for a section of a French magazine and for provocative pictures in other publications , something I assume she regrets now. She entered the U.S. on a work visa and soon received her green card for permanent residency. The green card was issued under the EB-1 program which grants residency to immigrants who demonstrate “extraordinary ability.” She became a U.S. citizen in 2006. She considers citizenship in this country the greatest privilege on the planet and says she cannot and will not take our freedoms for granted.

Melania met the recently separated Donald Trump at a New York fashion party in 1998. She first rejected his request for a date refusing to give him her phone number. Later, she agreed to take his number and call him. The couple eventually began a relationship and were engaged in 2004. The following year, they married in a lavish million-dollar Palm Beach, Florida, ceremony attended by celebrities galore including Bill and Hillary Clinton (little did Hillary know…). Melania was 35, Donald was 59. It was her first marriage; his third following wives Ivana (1977 to 1992) and Marla Maples (1993 to 1999). There is no contact among the three ex-wives. In 2006, Melania gave birth to Barron Trump.

Keenly business minded, she launched a jewelry collection, “Melania Timepieces & Jewelry,” in 2010. In 2013, she debuted a skin care line, “Melania Caviar Complexe C6.” Both brands have enjoyed significant success. She speaks five languages–English, French, Serbian, German, and Slovenian. She has taught Barron Slovenian and French.

Viktor and Amalija eventually followed their daughter to the United States where they now live, alternating between Trump Tower in New York City and Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach. They are adamant about staying behind the scenes. Sister, Ines, is single and now lives in New York residing in the $2 million apartment owned by the Trumps and previously occupied by Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump. Melania is very close to her sister and considers her as best friend and confidant. Barron spends considerable time with his grandparents in New York particularly during the Trumps’ official travels. Below are pictures of the Knavs (left) and Ines Knauss (right, with Melania). Isn’t it uncanny how much the Knavs look like Donald and Melania?

The last thing Melania ever dreamed of was being America’s First Lady. She kept a rather low profile during the 2016 campaign finding it difficult to transition from her role of mother and business woman to the harried political scene. After her husband’s unexpected victory, she retreated with her son and family in familiar New York until the school year ended before relocating to the White House. After a year-and-a-half, she is still adjusting. Her’s and Donald’s has not been a model marriage. They have worked through alleged affairs, travel separations, and little time to themselves. They differ on many political issues. She is, nonetheless, a devoted wife and nurturing mother. Although her life as First Lady is not one she chose or even desired, she urged her husband to run for president. She was concerned that he would regret not doing so, but she never thought he would win. However, she considers her job as First Lady a duty and wears the title proudly, honorably, and capably. She maintains a respectful popularity among most Americans and many foreigners including some of our enemies. I would have to say she provides a much needed and delicate balance to the often caustic environment of the White House.




Barron Trump: First Boy

The “First Boy” of the White House, Barron Trump, is a child of immense privilege and worldwide recognition. But, who is he really and how is he coping with being at the center of attention. In many ways, he has had to forfeit the experiences and freedoms that other preteens take for granted. In other ways, he’s just a typical boy. Here are some interesting and intriguing aspects of being the child of Donald and Melania.

Barron William Trump weighed 8.5 pounds when he as born on March 20, 2006, in Manhattan, New York City, New York, the only child of both Donald and Melania Trump. Having been obsessed with the name Barron for years, his father chose the first name, and his mother the middle name. The toddler Barron was given his own room, an entire floor, in the family’s Trump Towers penthouse. He was allowed to do anything he wanted in his “room” to include drawing and coloring on the walls. Melania said in interviews that, if he said no to her, she always acquiesced so as not to impair his creativity.

Barron attended the Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School in Manhattan until he and his mother moved to the White House permanently five months after the inauguration. The elite non-sectarian school has 1300 students, and the Trumps paid $48,790 in yearly tuition for their son’s elementary education. He now attends St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Potomac, Maryland, with 585 students and an annual tuition of $39,790. About 40% of the St. Andrew’s students are people of color. Unlike the liberal DC schools chosen by the Clintons and the Obamas, the Trumps chose this school outside the heart of the city and in a more conservative environment.

Melania call’s her son “Little Donald” routinely and says he is more like his father than any of the President’s other children. He likes suits more than sweats, he loves golf, he builds model buildings, and he is very meticulous and determined in almost everything he attempts. He does share his mother’s love for the languages and already speaks fluently in her native language of Slovenian as well as French. He calls her “Mommy.”

Both the parents admit that Melania has always been the one to care for their son. He is only supervised by a nanny when his parents are out of town without him. Donald never changed a diaper or put him to bed. Melania enjoys those duties and considers them her responsibility. The best, and almost only, father-son quality time comes when the family vacations at their Florida home in Mar-a-Lago. Melania is passionate about keeping her son healthy with a balanced diet and exercise. Each evening, she scrubs his face and applies her own caviar-infused moisturizer to it.

The first boy to live in the White house since JFK Junior over a half-century ago, he is the first preteen to be there since eleven-year-old Charles Taft in 1908. Barron’s very refined first twelve years have, of course, made his fishbowl life a little less challenging. He came to Washington experienced in smiling at cameras, certain social protocols, and very limited privacy. However, no one can be completely prepared for the role of the President’s kid. So, what is a typical weekday for Barron William Trump?

Melania gets Barron up around 6:00 a.m. and fixes his breakfast. Yes, the First Lady cooks for her son and often for the threesome. She prepares his school lunch to be carried in a lunch box. By 7:30 a.m., the Secret Service mini-motorcade of two SUVs is waiting at the south entrance door ready for the 20-mile, 30-minute drive in rush-hour traffic. Five agents escort him outside the Beltway and to his school. Two of the five will walk him to class and remain with him–one in the back of the classroom and one just outside the door. The other three rotate positions around the exterior. Barron blends in with the other students with the obvious exception that two agents follow him everywhere. When the final bell rings, the agents and SUVs reverse the morning’s ritual arriving at the White House around 4:00 p.m. The routes to and from school are varied daily.

The typical boy in Barron emerges as he goes to his personally decorated White House room with a snack, plays video games, and watches TV until dinner. On occasion, he must dress for a formal dinner with special guests and play the part. In the evenings, Melania monitors his homework and helps when needed, and he is normally in bed by 10:00 p.m. Any anxieties or unsettling events from his day are usually discussed at his bedside between him and his mommy. He seems to be handling the role with dignity and poise. According to his parents, no tantrums or melt-downs have been experienced so far.

The next time you see this young man on TV walking to or from Marine 1 or showing up in festivities for a foreign leader, think about his being thrust into the spotlight at such a tender age. Say a short prayer for his safety and success as he sacrifices a lot of the joys of boyhood for the rare privilege of being the son of the President.



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