Melania has learned a few things from the master.
The first lady will never be as brilliant at trolling as her husband. He is an idiot-savant who plays in the roiling ocean of Twitter as naturally as a blubbery-necked sea lion.
Only Donald Trump, a Rat Pack relic who spurred the reckoning with his transgressions toward women, could send out a tweet taking credit for the women’s march.
But the Slovenian Sphinx has her moments.
It started when she seemed to sartorially upbraid Trump for his Billy Bush vulgarities by wearing a pussy-bow blouse to the St. Louis debate. Then, in a master stroke, she chose a first-lady project that could only be interpreted as a wicked rip on her husband: fighting cyberbullies. Last spring, Melania’s personal Twitter account favorited a GIF of her own downcast face at the inaugural address with an accompanying crack: “Seems the only #Wall @realDonaldTrump’s built is the one between him and @FLOTUS.”
And who can forget the crisp hand swat in Israel or her wish to spend Christmas on “a deserted island”?
Last weekend, on the anniversary of the inauguration, while the kid from Queens was abroad trying to impress the soul-sucking global elites he got elected railing against, pathetically bragging that he had “a crowd like they’ve never had before in Davos,” Melania made a solo visit to the Holocaust Museum in D.C. for Holocaust Remembrance Day. This looked like a subtle reproach to Trump for his unspeakable defense of the “very fine people” among the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia, and an allusion to the president’s statement last year on remembrance day, which somehow neglected to remember Jews or anti-Semitism. What a Stephen Miller special that was.
Afterward, the always elusive first lady slipped out of Washington, much to the surprise of the press. Suddenly, as Stormy Daniels, the porn star Trump’s lawyer allegedly paid for her silence, began her media tour on “Inside Edition” and booked an appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” Melania was making a stealthy landing in Florida.
Trump could humiliate his wife by being a big, horny pig, but he is the one who comes off as the embarrassment. How did we drop so far and so fast from class to crass?
Everyone wondered if Melania’s rebellious vanishing act — combined with the simultaneous Times scoop that Trump had already tried to fire Robert Mueller but was blocked by the White House lawyer, Don McGahn — was the beginning of the “unraveling,” as one top Democrat put it.
“There’s an endgame in sight, though it may take longer,” Tim O’Brien, a Trump biographer, told me. “It’s like ancient Rome where they’re all turning on each other. McGahn is taking out the long knives to stick Trump in the back. At some point, General Kelly may do the same. Bannon is exiled to the outer walls of the city, where he is collecting wayward Roman soldiers to go back and attack Trump. There are orgies and payoffs and mud wrestling, so beyond anything we’ve experienced anywhere.”
The White House is either ancient Rome falling or the Moscow cat circus, as Trump biographer Michael D’Antonio calls it, or a blender with the top off, as one of my colleagues dubs it.
It’s a shattering moment for the country when many of the institutions that gave America its identity as a smart, brave, generous, fair country seem corroded and immoral.
When we look in the mirror and try to figure out who we are now, elevating a corporate tax cut over our fundamental values is not going to cut it.