For one thing, it came on their 13th wedding anniversary, and Inside Edition notes that the first lady has kept a low profile since the allegations that her husband paid $130,000 in hush money to a porn actress who uses the name Stormy Daniels.
Historian Kate Andersen Brower, who specializes in America’s first ladies, told CNN that Melania Trump’s decision to cancel a major trip is unusual for a variety of reasons.
“It’s pretty unusual, but in modern history, we haven’t seen a couple like this,” she told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “I’m thinking back to Hillary Clinton, when she famously went with President Clinton to Martha’s Vineyard at the height of the impeachment trial and all the controversy surrounding it.
“It’s a kind of a bit of power that the first lady can wield over her husband. And we haven’t had a relationship this fraught since, I think, the Clintons, even going back and looking at someone like Eleanor Roosevelt or Jackie Kennedy, where there were lots of rumors surrounding their relationship.”
Blitzer pointed out that on the anniversary of Trump’s inauguration, the first lady posted a picture that didn’t feature her husband. He also wondered if there was any meaning in the fact that Melania did not mention the president by name in a statement saying the past year has been filled with many wonderful moments.
“This a first lady we don’t hear from a lot,” observed CNN White House reporter Kate Bennett, “but she is A-plus at subliminal messaging, if you want to take it that way: not a mention of her husband; of the thousands of pictures taken of the two of them this year, interesting that she picked that picture; and the ‘wonderful moments’ doesn’t mention the president.”
Watch the complete segment below: