Reports from Washington suggest America’s most powerful couple are on two different trajectories.
President Donald Trump is hanging on to power, fighting tooth and nail to prove – despite no evidence – that election fraud was behind his opponent Joe Biden’s stunning and historic election victory.
Meanwhile, First Lady Melania Trump is planning a swift exit from DC. That includes inquiries about what financial entitlements she could receive for post-White House life.
Sources close to Melania told CNN: “She just wants to go home.”
The broadcaster reports Melania has privately been “determining what to put in storage, what goes to Trump’s New York City digs, and what should be tagged for shipment to Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida”.
Two sources told CNN Melania has tasked the Office of Management and Budget with finding out whether there were taxpayer funds allocated to former first ladies. The short answer: there are not.
It comes as all 50 US states officially certified their presidential election results, finding Biden won with 306 Electoral College votes to Trump’s 232.
Melania copped another backlash online earlier this week after celebrating the completion of a new tennis pavilion at the White House.
Her critics have suggested the announcement is out of touch, given the worsening state of America’s coronavirus epidemic.
“First Lady Melania Trump is pleased to announce the completion of the new White House tennis pavilion,” a White House statement read.
“The project included the refurbishment of the White House Tennis Court and Grandchildren’s Garden along with construction of the new building.
“The building and landscape were planned to blend with the existing structures on the White House grounds.
“Design of the structure was inspired by the existing architecture of the White House, in particular the East and West Wings.”
In a Twitter post, Melania said the tennis court was a “historic landmark”.
There was no shortage of sarcasm online in response to her announcement.
Many of the replies pointed out the increasingly grim situation America faces in its struggle to contain Covid-19, with new cases and hospitalisations at record levels.
It was reported earlier this month that Melania is planning her next move, one that could include a lucrative book deal.
In late November, reports emerged that she was planning to pen a memoir and cash in on her time in the White House.
An insider told Page Six talks were already well underway, and that the alleged deal could be worth “big money”.
Given former presidential couple Barack and Michelle Obama inked a staggering US$65 million ($92.5 million) book deal – believed to be one of the most lucrative in history – many are certain a Melania tell-all would be incredibly profitable.
According to Aussie public relations expert Nicole Reaney, a Melania memoir would be a smart move – although it also had the capacity to backfire.
“During the time of her husband’s presidency, Melania has been subjected to rumours and media scandals,” Reaney said.
“Creating her own memoir gives her an uninterrupted platform to address these and control the messaging around her personal brand.
“It also empowers her to stand on her own, rather than be continually portrayed as walking a foot behind Donald Trump.”
Reaney said the First Lady had become an “easy target” over the past four years, with news outlets scrutinising her “every move”.
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