A 911 Call To The First Lady

02/07/2017 08:45 am ET Updated Feb 09, 2017
Joe Raedle via Getty Images

The president needs you, Mrs. Trump, and fast.

I get it ― maybe you don’t want to jump into the icy waters of Washington. Or maybe you haven’t gotten over that video, and you’re angry about the salacious details in that now infamous dossier.

But this is about something much bigger than your feelings. And it’s bigger than Barron. As a mother, I understand your desire to protect your son and keep him in school for continuity’s sake. But there are plenty of excellent private schools in the nation’s capital. Countless children of senators, congressmen and other government employees have been uprooted and forced to move to different schools mid-year. It’s not too great a burden.

Speaking of burdens, it’s reportedly costing up to $30 million a month to keep the two of you in your golden tower. That’s apparently two million more than the monthly budget for section 8 housing in New York City. But I digress.

If the reporting by Maggie Haberman and Glenn Thrush of The New York Times is true, your husband is wandering around the president’s residence in the White House in his bathrobe at night, (Sean Spicer insists he doesn’t own a bathrobe) with no one to talk to. After Steve Bannon leaves at the end of a long day of criticism and low polling numbers, it’s gotta be pretty depressing there. And if he’s alone, that means he’s spending his nights watching television news and fuming over the media’s portrayal of his day. We know he’s not reading.

Mrs. Trump, your husband needs someone to whom he can relay his thoughts about his new job ― a sounding board. And he needs to know he’s not alone. This is a man with an extraordinarily fragile ego who clearly doesn’t do well when left to his own devices. It’s as if you’ve cut off his arm, and he is flailing around in our nation’s capital. He needs balance. (And he needs someone to hide his phone every morning.) You might not be the nation’s preferred choice to have the president’s ear before he closes his eyes at night, but at least it’s an ear. At least it’s the sympathetic ear of someone who presumably loves him and cares about him, and wants to see him succeed.

I know you’re not Michelle, or Hillary, or even Laura or Barbara, and I don’t think you’re a Nancy either. We figured that out during the campaign. But you have a connection to this man who is, by many accounts, a loner. Few presidents have any real friends in ice cold Washington. Bannon, Conway and company may listen to his rants, but they’re paid to do it. Every president needs a companion who is just that – a companion. Not a compensated employee with a world view or personal agenda, not his security detail who seems to be his late night friend, but his wife – who knows him better than anyone, who can salve his wounds and give him back the family life he must surely miss. Someone he can trust.

Yes, Ivanka and Jared are around, but they’re home at night in their own DC digs where they have young children to worry about. As close as they are to the president, they are a young family remaking their lives, finding their way in a new town with a different social order. That takes time and effort and silver dresses to navigate.

Maureen Dowd mused that your disappearance could be an unwitting statement of feminism. Oh please. The first lady may have to plan Easter egg hunts and give White House tours, but she can also be an incredibly impactful role model for the country, as Michelle Obama has shown us. Mrs. Trump, you may eventually choose to be a more public spokesperson for the U.S. But perhaps you can best serve your country for the four years that your husband is charged with the awesome and lonely job of running the United States by standing beside him and just being there. Starting now. Because your absence is the absence of family life, familiarity and normalcy, the absence of trust, and the absence of stability and comfort in a country that is about as stable right now as a ship headed for an iceberg. I’m not suggesting you have the power to save your husband’s chaotic administration or the country, but a little course correction could go a long way.

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