Melania Trump would be a First Lady of firsts

Melania Trump would be a First Lady of firsts

Melania Trump would be a presidential spouse unlike any other. Even her fellow Slovenians are not celebrating the idea.

Melania Trump, wife of Donald Trump, president and chief executive of Trump Organization Inc. and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, right, looks on as her husband speaks to the media in the spin-room following the Republican presidential candidate debate sponsored by CBS News and the Republican National Committee at the Peace Center in Greenville, South Carolina, U.S., on Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016. Donald Trump tops the GOP field with support from 36.3 percent of likely South Carolina Republican primary voters with Ted Cruz at 19.6 percent, according to a poll conducted for the Augusta Chronicle released on Friday. (Daniel Acker/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

Melania Trump, wife of Donald Trump, looks on as her husband speaks to the media in the spin-room following the Republican presidential candidate debate sponsored in Greenville, South Carolina, U.S., on Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016. (Daniel Acker/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

The prospect that their little-noticed little country might provide America’s next first lady is delighting, dividing, but mostly disgusting America’s 200,000 Slovenians because of whom they’ll have to vote for to get her into the White House.

The mountainous former Yugoslav republic is the provenance of the decidedly alpine Melania Trump, née Knavs. Mrs. Trump is a former fashion model from a little valley hamlet who has been married to Republican candidate Donald J. Trump since 2005. Should the Donald win the Republican nomination in July and prevail nationwide in November, his third wife will become the first presidential spouse since the 1820s to be born outside the United States.

“What do you think of the possibility that the United States could have a Slovenian first lady?” a Maclean’s reporter asked Slovenians who gathered recently in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington for the Easter blessing of their breads and painted eggs. (Caution: Slovenians easily can be confused with Slovakians, who also are Roman Catholics, and with residents of Slavonia, a tiny region of Croatia.)

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“Are you sure she’s Slovenian?” replied a young woman named Suzanna Dawyot, gazing at a photograph of the prospective White House hostess curled unclad on a furry rug. “Because most Slovenian women aren’t very attractive.”

Dawyot, who is far from repugnant herself, noted that her grandfather’s best friend used to photograph the winner of the annual Miss Slovenia pageant. “I would look at the pictures and say, ‘How did she win?’ ” the Slovenian miss recalled.

“What do you think of the possibility that the United States could have a Slovenian first lady?” Maclean’s asked a woman named Meta Žebot, an editor of economic publications.

“Agggaggghhaghh,” Žebot replied, sticking two fingers in her mouth. “It depends on who the Slovenian first lady comes with,” the editor said, after withdrawing her digits. “Not if she comes with Trump!”

Melania Trump, who rarely, if ever, speaks in public and who consents to an interview about as often as Slovenia wins the World Cup, has been a helpless pawn in the unseemly catfight between her (first) husband and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz over which man’s bride is less repulsive. This began just before the Utah caucuses, when backers of Cruz used that same photograph of the former Miss Knavs posing naked as an appeal to the sympathies of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. “Meet Melania Trump,” read the accompanying text. “Your next first lady. Or you could support Ted Cruz.” Trump responded by tweeting a pic of a scowling Heidi next to a sultry shot of Melania, with the text, “The images are worth a thousand words.”

While few males would find Heidi Suzanne Nelson Cruz—a former National Security Council economist and Goldman Sachs wealth manager—to be unappealing, it is a safe bet that most heterosexual dudes would consider Melania Trump exceedingly appealing.

(Not that the current first lady is unattractive. Last month, President Barack Obama told an interviewer that his teenage daughters are fortunate to have “a tall, gorgeous mom who has some curves that their father appreciates.” Michelle Obama has been a fervent supporter of fitness and nutritional objectives for her nation’s porky, unathletic children. Melania Trump, on the other hand, looks like she never eats at all.)

Having an attractive first lady has not been a priority here. The most venerated presidential wife of the past two centuries, Eleanor Roosevelt, never would have won a Miss America pageant —or a Miss Slovenia contest, for that matter—but her achievements as a defender of women’s rights, human rights and civil rights rivalled those of her husband Franklin.

Melania Trump is no Eleanor Roosevelt in more ways than one. As a professional model in Europe and the U.S., her portfolio was as slim as her profile until she met the Donald at a Manhattan party. Today, she is a U.S. citizen and the face and figure of a line of cosmetics that includes Caviar Complexe C6 with Lipid Matrix Receptor, an “anti-aging moisturizer” made from cultured French sturgeon eggs that she purportedly rubs on her 10-year-old son, Barron James Trump, nightly—though this anecdote, like many other chapters of her life story, smells a little fishy.

“Melania has never been the brightest student,” note Slovenian journalists Bojan Požar and Igor Omerza in an unauthorized biography entitled Melania Trump, The Inside Story, From a Slovenian Communist Village to the White House. “She never studied at Oxford, the Sorbonne or Harvard; she has never been a supermodel, even less a top athlete, recognized scientist, or an extremely successful businesswoman; nonetheless, today, right before her 46th birthday, she is by far the richest Slovenian of all time.”

(Cynics allege that the 24-year age difference between the Trumps suggests a marriage of convenience, not passion, and cite Donald’s confession, in a book entitled Surviving at the Top, that, “For me, you see, the important thing is the getting . . . not the having.” Such skeptics forget that you can’t spell Slovenia without L-O-V-E.)

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What is indisputable is that Melanija Knavs—or Knauss, as she Germanized her name at one point—did appear in the swimsuit edition of Sports Illustrated in 2000, and that once, during a televised tour of the Trumps’ three-storey, gold-plated New York hovel, a contestant on The Apprentice told her that she had been pretty darn lucky for a small-town girl from the 154th-largest country in the world. “And he’s not lucky?” she snapped back.

Beyond this retort, and the occasional demurral of any political feelings of her own, “She almost never speaks,” noted Meta Žebot at the blessing of the breads in Washington. “If she was really Slovenian, you couldn’t shut her up.” (Melania’s hermitage was scheduled to be shattered on the eve of last week’s Wisconsin primary. “She’s coming down here to campaign,” her husband announced, an event so extraordinary that it caused People magazine to scream, “Stumpin’ Trumps!”)

Verbosity is not the only thread that binds the Slovenian populace and its North American diaspora. There also must be counted a passion for pickled cabbage, fatty sausages, the cake known as potika and slivovka plum liqueur. But the most celebrated trait of all is a rampant virtuosity that most often finds expression in the accordion, as played by such noted sons and grandsons of Slovenia as Walter Ostanek (“Canada’s Polka King”) and the late Frankie Yankovic (“America’s Polka King.”)

The father of Micky Dolenz, the drummer and lead singer of the Monkees half a century ago, was a Slovenian movie star. Weird Al Yankovic, the parodist, describes his ancestry as generically “Yugoslavian,” though his acolytes insist that he, too, is a son of the Slovenes (he’s not related to Frankie).

“A true Slovenian is someone who drinks slivovka while eating potika while dancing the polka to an accordion band,” Suzanna Dawyot explained at the Basilica.

“I can play, but I only know 12 Slovenian songs,” a man named Chris Bohince confessed. “How many Slovenian songs are there?” Maclean’s wondered. “Stacks,” Bohince replied. “We are a very musical people.”

Over in Ljubljana, Slovenia’s unpronounceable capital, enthusiasm for a Trump-Knavs administration is no warmer than it was at the National Shrine. Gregor Trebušak, editor-in-chief and anchorman of the nightly television news program Svet (“World”), told Maclean’s that only 10 per cent of respondents to a recent survey said that they would vote for Trump, given the chance.

“Even our right-wing political party says that Donald Trump is too conservative for them,” Trebušak reported. Melania Trump, he explained, has done little to celebrate her Slovenian roots in recent years, refusing interviews in her native tongue, disclaiming her father’s membership in the Communist Party, and airlifting her entire immediate family to New York City.

“But she is the richest Slovenian in history,” Trebušak was told. “If [former Yugoslavian president Josip Broz] Tito was still alive,” he said, “probably he would be richer.”

“Until this campaign, nobody cared about Melania Trump,” said Trebušak, adding the wishful, but probably futile hope, that “if Trump gets elected, maybe his first state visit will be not to Canada or Mexico, but to Slovenia.”

In the meanwhile, the Slovenes must make do with other news, such as the recent headline in the Slovenia Times that said “Slavko Avsenik remembered as musical genius, hard worker, warm being.” The late Avsenik was, of course, an accordion player. At some point, for the Slovenians—and, perhaps, for the Donald as well—it all comes back to the squeezebox.

“Can Melania Trump play the accordion?” Trebušak was asked in the Slovenian capital. “I don’t think so,” the anchorman replied. “But I can.”


Melania Trump would be a First Lady of firsts

  1. What a dumb story. Really? I respect MacLean’s as a legitimate news magazine. But is this news? How many words were wasted insulting this woman.
    I’m disappointed in you MacLean’s

    • I think this article is a brilliantly revealing article about Donald Trump. Using Melania’s story as the gatekeeper. No wonder she was kept under lock and key for a while. Hey this wasn’t part of the bargain when she married Trump. She is what she is. But just like the media wrote about Renata Ford only when she put herself in Rob’s campaign, the media can now write about Melania.
      Bottom line is this is a joke!

  2. This is a really stupid and ugly piece of pseudo-journalism. What’s next, Polish jokes?

  3. Well, if a canadian can run for President then, why is a slovenian 1st Lady even an issue.I think she will make an excellent 1st lady.She has much business experience.

    • With all due respect, every ounce of “business” experience this woman has is due to the billionaire she married. Who do u think bought her fashion jewellery and cosmetics businesses, with her products all made in the very nation hubby insults daily? The only business Melania instigated was modelling, and modelling hardly requires any business acumen, all one has to do is find an agent to promote one. She has no degree, that she does has been falsely disseminated. She is a college drop out in freshman year. She cannot deliver a 3 rd grade level, one minute articulate speech, and in every interview I have seen of her, she has yet to prove to me (and to countless others) that she owns a single brain cell. All she continually does is gush in the English she has not even attempted to improve, about “how vunderful he eeees”, and “veeee luf you”.. I think that even comparing this woman to the former First Ladies, all of whom had degrees and were intelligent, not plastic and were American born is insulting to their memories while in that role. This entire Trumpmania circus is a joke, rife with plastic, subservient women (who do u think bought “brilliant” businesswoman Ivanka all of her companies and gave her her jobs?) and frightening, almost fascist diatribe demeaning far too many others. It is clear by Trump is so disliked in the EU, in the UK and yes, right here across the border. btw, has Donald offered a single policy plan yet, or his tax returns? I thought not. Melania can offer platforms regarding reading fashion magazines, cosmetic surgery or posing naked on fur rugs. Brilliant First Lady material.

  4. If Donald Trump becomes president she will be first lady. If Hillary is President, Bill will be the first man

    • Like him or loathe him, Bill is a rhodes scholar with a rhodes scholar razor sharp mind. The American economy was in surplus during the 1990s under his administration, and both he and Hillary provoked very good global diplomacy. I cannot recall the hatreds, rioting and social discords of today being perpetuated in that era. I for one, would love to see Bill advising HRC on the serious matters now, as long as he remained healthy, Time will tell.

  5. As someone of Slovenian heritage, this article is beyond poor. Because Trump is a joke and married to a Slovene, no need to disparage an entire nation because of it. Your source, Suzanna Dawyot, doesn’t have much credibility based on her inaccurate statements. It’s potica and slivovec. And PS, the women in my family are beautiful.

    • On point, one starry eyed, low IQ Slovenian who got a green card with incredible benefits (though I hate to refer to Dump as a “benefit”) does not equate to all other Slovenians in terms of (their) achievements, behavior, or intellect. But other than her marriage, I fail to see what major achievements Melanina has had.

  6. It’s the first time I bought a paper copy of this magazine, and got to this article; what a doozey of a joke. Say what you will about Trump himself, but ripping into his wife by insulting her heritage via the worst stereotypes assigned to an eastern European nation I’ve heard in a while, and finding some really ridiculous and arbitrary quotes from who-the-heck-cares-about-your-opinion made me wonder what cheap gossip mag I was really reading. Is this a serious article?? I know nothing about M. Trump, and gained nothing from this about her actual quality as a person. This is shameful.

    • I think this is very revealing about Trump. Especially when you read “Cynics allege that the 24-year age difference between the Trumps suggests a marriage of convenience, not passion, and cite Donald’s confession, in a book entitled Surviving at the Top, that, “For me, you see, the important thing is the getting . . . not the having.” Such skeptics forget that you can’t spell Slovenia without L-O-V-E.”
      Some may argue that you were a tad harsh with Melania (people hate to see someone kick the cat) but I will say it is like commenting on Renata Ford. It became fair game when she put herself into Rob’s story.
      And by GAWD the joke of having a “playboy” first lady would be a gigantic “middle finger” gesture for Trump. He wins that if he wins the election.

  7. This is absolute proof that the Donald is just in it to win the game. The joke is on everybody. If you think he has the power, then he has the power. A classic narcissistic, sociopath, misogynistic man playing his own game where he determines the score. And he will win at his game. Even if he loses the election, he will have won. See the effect he has. Just accept that Trump will have bragging rights no matter what happens. Trump is a classic bully. Finding your weak spot and exploiting it but always with a plausible excuse so you can’t blame him. He was just thinking aloud. He’s changed his mind. He claims everybody makes mistakes but he has moved on. (Remember Rob Ford saying “everybody makes mistakes I’ve moved on and the past is the past”). Trump will never accept responsibility if things take off.
    The way to deal with these people is to change the game. And walk away.
    Maybe we should just start to laugh at his idiotic platforms and decrease the media coverage.

    • I forgot to add that he won’t even take responsibility for his Vice President pick. Media called this bizarre but it is in the playbook of the manipulator. He can’t lose. If things go wrong, he cant be blamed for choosing the wrong VP. If things go well, he wins too for his smarts in choosing the VP. Walk away from this guy.