There’s been a lot of speculation about the state of the Trumps’ marriage, but it appears Donald and Melania have at least two things in common: a taste for litigation and an insatiable need to capitalize on the Trump brand.
As reported by the New York Post, Mrs. Trump has filed a third lawsuit against The Daily Mail after the site posted a story suggesting she had been an “escort’ during her modeling days. The report was retracted, but the story lives forever online.
Now, one can understand why any woman would sue over that sort of allegation, especially a public figure with a young son.
But this suit reveals the true reason for her distress — she claims it damaged her reputation to such an extent that she cannot trade on her fame as First Lady to launch a clothing and fragrance line. According to the filing in the Manhattan Supreme Court, which reads as though her husband dictated it, Melania “had the unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity as an extremely famous and well-known person . . . to launch a broad-based commercial brand in multiple product categories, each of which could have garnered multi-million dollar relationships for a multi-year term during which plaintiff is one of the most photographed women in the world.”
It’s almost expected for a First Lady to have a pet project or cause. Laura Bush promoted libraries. Michelle Obama urged better nutrition and planted a vegetable garden at the White House. Even Nancy Reagan had her “just say no” anti-drug campaign.
Melania Trump apparently wants to be remembered as the First Lady who hawked crap on QVC.
She is seeking $150 million in damages, a figure that may be right on the mark. The Kardashian and Jenner sisters, who without question are the most photographed women in the world, made a combined $122.5 million last year, according to Forbes magazine. First Daughter Ivanka Trump’s fashion line had $100 million in revenues last year, according to published reports.
Never mind that it would be illegal under the Emoluments Clause for Melania to profit from being First Lady while her husband occupies the White House. Never mind that “one of the most photographed women in the world” wasn’t seen in public from Jan. 21, when she accompanied Trump to a prayer service at the National Cathedral, until Feb. 3, when she and her husband deplaned in Florida for a “vacation” at Mar-a-Lago.
Never mind that Melania is so indifferent to the idea of being First Lady that she only got around to naming a chief of staff on Feb. 1, amid reports that she does not intend to move to Washington after the end of the school year, as she had previously said. She still hasn’t named a social secretary.
I admit I’m conflicted about the whole concept of the “First Lady,” an unpaid job with a paid staff. Other countries, many of which are headed by women, seem to do just fine without an official hostess. Certainly, Bill Clinton wouldn’t have been expected to read to little kids and host luncheons.
Nonetheless, for a First Lady to complain that she’s being deprived of the chance to make millions — especially when her husband brags of his own wealth — strikes me as pure greed. I hope the judge throws the suit out, even at the risk of being branded a “so-called judge” by the Twit in Chief.