Once again, first lady Melania Trump gave off the impression that all is not well in her marriage to President Donald Trump when she broke presidential protocol on Friday following a report alleging the president had an affair with former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal.
As the Trumps headed to Florida to meet with the victims of this week’s mass shooting at a high school, they began the journey separately. While it’s tradition for the couple to cross the White House lawn to Marine One together, Mrs. Trump decided to forgo the usual walk and instead drove separately to Andrews Air Force Base. She arrived in a separate vehicle ahead of the president and ascended the stairs to Air Force One without him.
First lady Melania Trump skipped the traditional South Lawn couple's walk to Marine One for travel to Florida, opting instead to drive separately ahead of President Donald Trump https://t.co/dSuz7mo4fG pic.twitter.com/5zj1bCPXYy— CNN (@CNN) February 16, 2018
“With her schedule, it was easier to meet him on the plane,” Stephanie Grisham, the first lady’s communications director, explained the situation, adding that she does intend to join her husband in visiting the victims.
The suspicious choice comes just hours after The New Yorker published a report based on an account from McDougal, who provided details about her alleged affair with President Trump between June 2006 to April 2007. At the time, the Trumps had been married for two years, and their son, Barron, had been born a few months earlier.
The White House responded to the allegations in a statement saying, “This is an old story that is just more fake news. The President says he never had a relationship with McDougal.”
This isn’t the first time the first lady has broken with tradition in the wake of infidelity accusations. Last month, she arrived at the U.S. Capitol separately from the president to attend his first State of the Union address. It was her first public event following a bombshell report alleging the president paid porn star Stormy Daniels $130,000 in exchange for her silence after the pair had an affair in 2006.