Where is Melania Trump? Former first lady nowhere to be seen at Donald’s arraignment

As former US president Donald Trump pleads not guilty in court, his wife has not been present throughout his indictment

Ellie Muir
Friday 04 August 2023 15:26 BST
Watch: Donald Trump's third indictment explained

As Donald Trump pleaded not guilty in court on Thursday (3 August) after being arrested and arraigned for conspiring to overturn the 2020 presidential election, his wife, Melania Trump was nowhere to be seen.

While the former president has criticised the indictment, calling for the “fake” case to be moved out of Washington DC, where he claims it is “impossible to get a fair trial”, his wife, 53-year-old Melania, has not been by his side at the court proceedings in his third criminal case.

Melania Trump has reportedly rejected multiple requests to appear alongside her husband, former president Donald Trump, at campaign stops and appearances as part of the multiple criminal cases against him in New York and Florida.

The New York Times reported last month that the former first lady, who has eschewed the typical post-White House activities of her predecessors, is focusing on helping her and Donald’s 17-year-old son, Barron Trump, search for and apply to colleges.

She also reportedly keeps her social circle small by choosing to spend time with her parents, her son, and “a handful of old friends” in addition to visits to hairdressers and consultations with longtime stylist Herve Pierre.

While reports say that she is seen meeting her husband for dinner on occasion, reports say she wants no involvement in the indictment or his 2024 presidential campaign. In April, it was reported that Melania had skipped Trump’s indictment trip from Florida to New York, and was not named among the group of people who travelled onboard the former president’s private plane.

Former Trump White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham told CNN that Melania “knows” what’s “going on” with her husband’s indictment, but will turn up “when she wants to”.

“I don’t make anything of [her silence], she is saying in her mind, that this is his issue, he doesn’t need me here to prop him up and I’m too busy to go with him,” Grisham said. “And that’s who she is. She will turn up by [Trump’s] side when she wants to [and] when she’s perfectly ready.”

Grisham also expressed doubt that a conversation Donald Trump recalled, about the moment he told her about his looming indictment, had actually takent place.

“She knows when he’s going to get indicted, she knows what’s going on, she watches media as much as he does,” she said.

What is Melania’s relationship like with Donald Trump?

Melania, a Slovenian-American former model and businesswoman, started dating Trump after meeting at a party in Manhattan in 1998 when the newly separated Trump asked then-model Melania Knauss, 24 years his junior, for her phone number.

They became a couple a year later. While Trump was seeking the Reform Party nomination in the 2000 presidential election, Melania was asked how she viewed herself if ever she became first lady. She told The New York Times. “ “I would be very traditional. Like Betty Ford or Jackie Kennedy.”

Melania Trump reportedly views her husband’s indictment as ‘his issue’

The pair became engaged in 2004 and were married in 2005 in an Anglican service at an Episcopal Church in Palm Beach, Florida. Their wedding was attended by celebrities including model Heidi Klum, American rapper P Diddy, British TV personality Simon Cowell and former president Bill Clinton.

At the wedding reception, Billy Joel performed “Just the Way You Are” and did a new rendition of “The Lady Is A Tramp”. Melania wore a Christian Dior wedding dress and starred on the cover of Vogue in an exclusive inside look at the nuptials.

Melania gave birth to their son Barron William Trump in March 2006, and has our stepchildren: Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump from Trump’s first marriage to Ivana Zelníčková. She has another stepdaughter, Tiffany Trump from Trump’s second marriage to Marla Maples.

Prince Charles with then-President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump at Winfield House, London, in June 2019

When Donald Trump was elected president of the United States, Melania assumed the role of the First Lady of the United States on 20 January 2017 and continued to live in Manhattan at the Trump Tower with their son until the end of his school year.

When Trump’s presidency ended, Melania finished her tenure as first lady in 2021 as the least popular first lady ever, according to polling at the time.

During Trump’s presidency, conspiracy theorists alleged that he was using a body double or “decoy” to stand in for his wife on official visits and public appearances. Trump and his team quickly denied the theories.

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