Since Inauguration Day a lot has been heard about Melania Trump, current First Lady of the United States. From headlines raising concern after a series of “sad pictures” to California Senator calling for her immigration records to be released. Which ever are your feelings about the current FLOTUS it is inevitable not to catch her in the spotlight.
The hashtag #FreeMelania became trending. Some felt sympathy while others couldn’t ignore her privilege nor felt sorry for her. Many thought that the hashtag was condescending and patronizing by seeing her as another victim of Donal Trump’s bullying and not an adult woman who is in a very privileged position.
Last year her immigration records were requested, but were never released under the claim that it was “not adequate” and harassing. The demands for the records has grown after Trump’s executive orders of the Travel Ban.
For me, Melania is more than a woman that married multimillionaire Trump in 2005. She is a symbol of migration in the United States; the “approved” migration.
Born in former Yugoslavia, she became a permanent resident in 2001 when she came to the United States to work as a model. She is not the first foreign-born First Lady. Louisa Adams, wife of John Quincy Adams was born in London and became the First Lady in 1825. However Melania is the firs non-native English speaker.
There are other First Ladies that have European descent including:
- Laura Bush with English, French and Swiss roots.
- Hilary Clinton whose father was of English and Welsh descent, while her mother had Dutch, English, French Canadian, Scottish, and Welsh roots.
- Nancy Reagan, wife of Ronald Reagan was the grand-daughter of Alla Nazimova, a Russian actress who came to the United States in 1905.
- Pat Nixon was the daughter of a sailor with Irish roots and her mother was a German immigrant.
- Lady Bird Johnson was a descendant of Rowland Taylor, an English Protestant martyr during the Marian Persecutions.
- Jackie Kennedy’s mother was of Irish descent and her father had French, Scottish, and English ancestry.
- Mamie Eisenhower was a grand-daughter of Swedish immigrants.
In 2008 the US had its first black president and in 2016 it was close to have the first female president. Michelle Obama already took the heat for being the first black First Lady. Melania Trump’s approval ratings have been the lowest since Barbara Bush’s in 1988, but still they surpass Donald Trump’s ratings. It may seem weightless but the fact that she is an immigrant FLOTUS matters. The US got a Slovenian First Lady which raises the question if it will ever approve a Latina or Muslim descent.
The First Lady is the most non-partisan element politics can offer. They have been seen as Queens, but also commoners. George Bush had an average approval of 49% while Laura had a 73%. Many of them were very involved in politics and truly committed to their campaign issues. First Ladies are more than politicians’ wives. They carry the image of their husbands. They’re a vessel of approval for the US citizens, and that approval has a race.