Donald Trump defends Melania and insists she is being 'so unfairly maligned'
16 February 2017 • 9:50pm
President Donald Trump launched a strident defence of his wife on Thursday, insisting that Melania Trump was “a fantastic person” who would embrace the role of first lady. “I’ve known her a long time,” he said, speaking of his wife of 11 years. The 46-year-old, whose absence in the first three weeks of her husband’s presidency had raised eyebrows, would soon begin to work on “women’s issues”, he said. Mrs Trump has stayed in New York to enable their son Barron, 10, to finish school, while Mr Trump moved into the White House. Gossip magazine Us Weekly features Mrs Trump on the front cover of its latest edition, with the headline: "Melania's struggle: a life she never wanted."
They claim: "Feeling isolated and unprepared, the reluctant first lady is secretly miserable," and spoke to her stylist for their report. “This life wasn’t her dream. It was Donald’s,” said Phillip Bloch, described by the magazine as a Trump family friend and stylist. “Truthfully, it’s a lot to cope with.” But Mr Trump backed his wife. “I think that Melania’s going to be outstanding,” he said. “She - like others that she’s working with - feel very, very strongly about women’s issues, women’s difficulties. “She’s a very, very strong advocate. I think she’s a great representative for this country.” Mrs Trump failed to show Akie Abe, the wife of Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe, around Washington last week and is yet to begin offering tours of the White House. Following the criticism, she was present at the White House on Wednesday to welcome Sara Netanyahu, wife of the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
She was also roundly criticised for filing court documents in a defamation suit alleging that a damaging and inaccurate report had caused her to lose the “once in a lifetime opportunity” to profit from her brand. “A funny thing happens,” said Mr Trump. “She gets so unfairly maligned. The things they say. “She would go home at night and wouldn’t even want to go out with people. She was a very private person. She was always the highest quality that you will ever find. “The things they say are so unfair,” he said. Mr Trump did not specify what he was referring to, but Mrs Trump recently settled a defamation suit against a Maryland blogger who had claimed she worked for an escort service in the 1990s and had a “nervous breakdown” during last year’s campaign. “I think she’s going to be a fantastic first lady. She’s going to be a tremendous representative of women and of the people,” he concluded.