Stepping up

Melania Trump reportedly becoming a quiet force inside the White House

First lady Melania Trump looks on as her husband President Donald Trump speaks at a meeting with administration on the opioid addiction crisis at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, on August 8, 2017. (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

Over the first six months of Donald Trump’s presidency, first lady Melania Trump made more news for her absence — she stayed back in New York City while the first couple’s son Barron finished the school year — and reports based on claims made by anonymous sources that she may not have wanted her husband to win the election. And then there were the back-to-back hand-holding episodes during the first couple’s inaugural trip abroad that were both caught on video and went viral.

But now, according to a report by The Daily Beast, anonymous sources are saying that Melania Trump has become a quiet force inside her husband’s White House, and has had some modest success shaping her husband’s public policy. To those paying close attention, it was obvious that her response on Twitter to the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Va., was, in contrast to her husband’s, much more restrained.

But the main case in point, the sources the Beast spoke with said, is the president’s reversal on designating the opioid crisis as a national emergency earlier this month. Initially, the president spoke out about the urgency of addressing the growing opioid epidemic in the country, but he avoided declaring it a national emergency. Within two days, Trump changed his tune, saying, “The opioid crisis is an emergency, and I’m saying officially, right now, it is an emergency.” The difference? Melania had some time to weigh in and reportedly swayed his thinking on the issue. “She’s been researching the issue,” one senior administration official told the Beast. “She’s been reading stories and meeting families. And when the time came, she was engaged.”

Though her primary focus is family, sources said, she’s emerged as “the most powerful and respected representative of the administration at home and abroad” of late in part because two of the president’s top advisers, of whom much has been expected, have been increasingly absent and ineffective in recent weeks.

Read the full story at The Daily Beast.

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