Politico’s Nothingburger Shows The Media Still Can’t Get Over Melania Trump

Politico’s Nothingburger Shows The Media Still Can’t Get Over Melania Trump

The media want to hate the former first lady so badly they're creating a news cycle out of a non-story, proving how right she was never to give their gossip the time of day.
Elle Reynolds
By

Discontent to cover the continued fallout of the disastrously executed Afghanistan withdrawal and the Biden administration’s insane attempt to force vaccine mandates on all private companies with more than 100 employees, the chattering classes are hunting for scandals in former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham’s account of Melania Trump.

Grisham’s book about the Trump White House is scheduled for release on Oct. 5, but Politico is already gleefully hyping what it calls “a scoopy preview of her forthcoming tell-all.”

What’s in this salacious, supposedly scoopy preview? Politico informs us that the first lady was “preparing for a photo shoot of a rug she had selected” at the White House when the rally at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 went south and that she declined to issue a statement on the riot immediately, instead waiting a few days before flatly condemning it.

However inconsequential a rug photoshoot might seem, it’s exactly the kind of thing that first ladies do. And unless you’re jumping to the conclusion that Melania had advanced knowledge that the rally would get out of control, it says absolutely nothing negative about her that she would be continuing her duties as the first lady that particular day.

Similarly, the fact that she withheld from commenting on social media about the events at the Capitol within minutes of their beginning suggests more cool-headedness than it does evil. “At 1:25 p.m. on Jan. 6, soon after rioters had broken through barricades outside of the Capitol, Melania Trump received a text message from her then-chief of staff, Stephanie Grisham,” Politico narrated dramatically.

“’Do you want to tweet that peaceful protests are the right of every American, but there is no place for lawlessness and violence?’ Grisham asked the first lady. A minute later, Melania replied with a one-word answer: ‘No.’”

The former first lady did condemn the riot in no uncertain terms on Jan. 11, a detail Politico fails to mention. The outlet quoted the part of her statement that said she was “disappointed and disheartened” but failed to reference the part where she stated, “Make no mistake about it, I absolutely condemn the violence that has occurred on our Nation’s Capitol. Violence is never acceptable.”

The idea that someone in a position of power with considerable influence, including through her social media comments, might hesitate and want to gather the facts before taking her opinion to Twitter is as offensive to the corporate press as it is actually refreshing to people outside the Beltway.

Oh, and the other thing Politico thought was gossip-worthy? The revelation that Melania wanted to “see what the West Wing does” about plans for the transition to the Biden administration before setting up the inaugural tea party.

This isn’t the first time a supposed bombshell about the former first lady has dropped, only to be a trivial non-scandal or even to make her appear more sympathetic.

In October 2020, shortly before the presidential election, much was made of Melania’s comments about Christmas decorations. Phone recordings leaked by her former friend revealed the first lady remarking, “Who gives a f-ck about Christmas stuff and decoration?” and noting, “I’m driving liberals crazy, that’s for sure … and they deserve it.”

As Emily Jashinsky observed at the time, “Her complaint about Christmas decor actually seems to be a complaint about the tradition’s comparative triviality. She rightfully hammers the media for hypocritically whipping the public into a frenzy over child separations at the border under Trump but not Obama. … She knows why the media treats her badly. And she’s confident enough to laugh it off.”

And far from living up to projections of its salaciousness, Mary Jordan’s biography of the first lady, “The Art of Her Deal” was “surprisingly flattering,” according to journalist Stephanie Green, who concluded that “the worst thing one of Jordan’s 100 sources had to say about Trump is that she’s ‘stubborn.’”

Whatever else is published in Grisham’s book, it won’t be the first “scandal” to be invented about the Trump administration, either. There was the Atlantic’s unverified claim from anonymous sources that President Donald Trump canceled a trip to an American military cemetery in France because it would mess up his hair and that “he did not believe it important to honor American war dead.” Shortly afterward, multiple named sources with firsthand knowledge of the situation refuted the hit piece.

There was also the Russian bounty scandal, suggesting Russia offered bounties to the Taliban to kill American soldiers and blaming Trump for it. Months later — after the election had passed — the claims were walked back when it came out that U.S. intelligence had “low to moderate confidence” in their legitimacy.

Countless other examples join these two, including the hoaxes and accusations that were used as fodder for two sham impeachments. Meanwhile, the media and Big Tech have actively worked to quash revelations of scandals relating to the Biden family, most notably those of the president’s son Hunter and his exploits with drugs and prostitutes.

Why is the coalition of the corporate press and Twitter checkmarks still pursuing its vendetta against Melania’s existence? It’s a lot easier for the chattering classes to bully a woman who no longer holds political office about a non-story than it is to admit their complicity in the crises and scandals of the current administration.

The first lady spent four years ignoring and shaking off their attacks, and they still haven’t forgiven her for it. As outlets such as Politico continue their weird obsession with examining Melania’s every action with a microscope, they’re proving just how right she was never to give them or their gossip the time of day.

Elle Reynolds is an assistant editor at The Federalist, and received her B.A. in government from Patrick Henry College with a minor in journalism. You can follow her work on Twitter at @_etreynolds.

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