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Melania: A trophy wife or smart woman who got a trophy husband?

Thursday November 10 2016
By WAMBUA SAMMY

We have it on the good authority of evolutionary psychologists that successful men tend to be go-getters on the romantic front. If they are politicians of the flamboyant kind, their choice is likely to be the so-called trophy wife.

This, of course is simplistic because women also have minds of their own. Sometimes, it is actually the smart woman who procures the trophy husband, which brings us to America’s next First Lady and Trump’s third wife, Melania.

Melania will move to Pennsylvania Avenue from a palatial three-storey nest atop Trump Tower in New York, reports AFP and, Airforce One will not disorient her for she is used to her husband’s private, gilded Boeing 757.

Melania is a Slovene-American, whom you will recall, in July read a speech that was remarkably similar to that of the principal female tenant she is going to replace at the White House — Michelle Obama. That kicked up a stink that wafted past the Everest Peak but her man was least bothered.

When Trump gave a speech at the Al Smith dinner, British newspaper The Independent reported him using the opportunity to lampoon the “corrupt media” for portraying his beautiful Melania as a copycat for lifting Michelle Obama’s 2008 Republican Convention speech.

Joked Mr Trump: “My wife Melania gives the exact same speech and people get on her case, and I don’t get it! I don’t know why. And it wasn’t her fault”.

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Melania’s copying Michelle’s speech prompted critics to compare their educational backgrounds. Michelle is a writer and lawyer who graduated from Princeton University and Harvard Law School. Now, this sort of comparison doesn’t augur well for Melania.

In July, her official website was re-channelled to Trump.com after the small matter of the lifted speech. To rub it in, there were questions about her degree in architecture from the University of Ljubljana. Like her husband, she has way of explaining things. She tweeted that the site was re-directed because it was a bit dog-eared and did not “accurately reflect her status”.

Google tells us the 46-year-old Melania is a graduate of the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, and the mother of Barron Trump, the boy in a white tie and white shirt who stood by his father as he gave his victory speech on Wednesday.

But in America education is not everything. Ntwortho.com describes Melania as “a successful jewellery and watch designer and former model.” The soon-to-be first lady, it says “has an estimated personal net worth of $11 million (Sh1.1 billion). Kenyan counties are struggling to collect this figure in taxes.

When asked by The New York Times in 1999 what her role would be if Trump were to become president, the website reports her as replying: “I would be very traditional. Like Betty Ford or Jackie Kennedy. I would support him.”

GROPING PROWESS

And supportive she is. In the muck-raking that was the just-ended US presidential race, women crawled out the social woodwork with stories. Kristin Anderson recalled being in deep conversation in a Manhattan watering hole and somebody sliding fingers under her miniskirt. Those fingers, The Washington Post reported, were Donald Trump’s.

Donald, who on Wednesday trumped Hillary to become America’s 45 president, denied the accusation. Such talk ain’t healthy for marriage but Melania obviously knew such revelations go together with politics and ignored them. At least in public — even the tape recording of the President-elect gloating about his groping prowess.

Melania has also had a rough time with the media. She forced the scandal-loving Daily Mail and a political blogger to publish retractions for writing that she once worked as an escort for a gentlemen’s club in Italy in the 1990s.

Nancy Reagan, the Hollywood actress who became the 40th First Lady, is famous for re-writing her own story to suit her whims and institutionalising star-gazing as a way of predicting political fortunes at the White House.

Melania will certainly do something to differentiate her celebrity tenancy from the crowd.

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