Invitation to greatness

Melania Trump could prove to be Donald’s greatest nemesis

U.S. first lady Melania Trump (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Veteran journalist Margaret Carlson, who in 1994 famously became the first woman columnist at Time magazine, says that she believes there’s only one person in the world who can truly control Donald Trump — his enigmatic wife, Melania Trump. After former Trump fixer Michael Cohen’s recent guilty plea and court confession that he arranged payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy playmate Karen McDougal on Trump’s behalf during the 2016 presidential race — thereby implicating the president in the commission of a federal crime — Cohen also effectively confirmed “beyond the shadow of a doubt that her husband betrayed Melania,” wrote Carlson in an Op-Ed for The Daily Beast.

“If she [Melania] didn’t before,” Carlson speculates, “she must hate him now, with a fury no prenup can compensate for.”

But despite Melania’s quiet and private person persona, Carlson argues, the first lady has been surreptitiously undermining her husband for quite some time. She’s been seen on TV refusing to hold Donald’s hand, drawn his ire by watching his most hated news channel, CNN, on Air Force One, and appeared to directly contradict him by praising the philanthropic work of NBA star Lebron James shortly after her husband took to Twitter to denigrate James’ intelligence. Her anti-cyberbullying Be Best campaign, Carlson notes, can also be interpreted as a response to her husband’s tendency to attack people over Twitter. And her visits to young detained children separated from their parents during Trump’s since-abandoned “zero tolerance” immigration policy — including one controversial trip where she wore a jacket that read, “I Really Don’t Care, Do U?” — were seen by many as a defiant rebuke of the ill-fated policy.

U.S. President Donald Trump walks from Marine One to board Air Force One with First Lady Melania Trump in Morristown, New Jersey, U.S., August 19, 2018. (REUTERS/Chris Wattie)

Carlson is not the only member of the pundit class to notice the potential Melania Trump possesses at this moment in time. New York Times Op-Ed columnist Frank Bruni also sees her as a pivot figure, perhaps the nation’s “greatest first lady” as he put it in a column this week. “Other first ladies beautified highways, promoted reading, planted squash,” Bruni wrote. “This one could abbreviate a nightmare. She’s in a situation that her predecessors weren’t, on the arm of an overlord who needs undermining, and it’s her invitation to greatness, or at least her prompt for an itinerary tailored to taunt.”

The way Carlson sees it, Melania is responding to that invitation. “Already, she’s shown more pushback against the man child in the Oval Office than the Republican lions of the Senate, his Marine chief of staff, or his Cabinet,” wrote Carlson. And if there’s one thing that Trump might fear even more so than the Russia investigation — as Women in the World founder Tina Brown pointed out — it would be the embarrassment and humiliation that would surely follow should Melania finally decide to leave him.

Read the full story at The Daily Beast.

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