Throughout history, the First Lady has long been an image of unity and strength for the American people.
This last Inauguration Day during Donald Trump’s swearing-in ceremony, many images of Melania Trump’s uncomfortable gestures as she stood by her husband surfaced the internet. As multiple memes mocking M. Trump surfaced, people seemed to have forgotten that the position of First Lady is not an elected job.
M. Trump did not run for First Lady, nor was she given a choice to whether or not she would accept this role like everyone else in the administration. It was simply expected she would immediately move into the White House with her family and pick up the responsibilities handed to her: namely hosting state dinners and spearheading passion projects designed to improve the morale of citizens.
When the Trump family announced M. Trump’s plan to remain in New York with her ten-year-old son, Baron, until the end of his school year, she faced extreme backlash for this decision. However, M. Trump has consistently proven she would rather remain a private citizen, and she is putting the safety and education of her family before her obligation to the White House.
While the position of ‘First Lady’ is a long-standing American tradition, the sexist undertones of the role overshadow the actual good a woman can do while her husband is in office. The First Lady is expected to leave her job and home to move into the White House, often disrupting her personal endeavors. Then, she is given jobs of hosting easter egg rolls, reading books to children, overseeing dinners, and being the feminine face of the administration. In our modern society, should we really be expecting all women to fit into this mold of the “perfect housewife”?
On the other hand, by staying in New York City with B. Trump, M. Trump is costing American taxpayers millions of dollars, due to increased security presence at their residence on 5th Avenue. Combine this expense with the frequent flights to speak with her husband around the country, and this could be one of the most costly presidential families of all time.
Whatever M. Trump decides to do with her family this summer after the school year is over, she clearly prefers to remain out of the public eye as much as possible, and I believe she should be afforded this right, as she was not the person who won the presidency.