Vanity Fair has published its rumored-to-be “mean-spirited” feature examining Melania and Donald Trump’s ossified marriage, and even though none of the Trumps (or their closest friends) talked to reporter Evgenia Peretz, there’s ample evidence that they do not live in wedded bliss. Who could have guessed?
Melania’s obvious discomfort with public appearances, the muted disdain she and her husband share for each other, and her reluctance to resettle in DC (which costs New Yorkers $1 million a week in taxes) or pursue public initiatives and projects speak volumes. As do Trump’s comments about his wife, which have included him joking that if she were injured in a car crash, he’d honor his vows if her boobs looked good, and bragging about not apologizing to her after numerous women alleged he sexually assaulted them. The profile does, however, provide some colorful anecdotes that show just how business-like the Trump’s marriage must be, and why Melania has been determined to stay in it.
FLOTUS and President Testosterone are perfect for each other in at least one way: they both appear to be driven almost exclusively by ego and the projection of a particular image. This incident, observed by The Truth About Trump author Michael D’Antonio at Trump Tower, sounds like a modernized retelling of Greek mythology:
“He begged her to praise him [to me] as a husband . . . . Literally, he said, ‘Tell him I’m a really good husband.’ She looked at him, and he repeated himself. And she said, ‘Yeah, he’s a really good husband.’ It was being dragged out of her,” says D’Antonio. Then she repeated a story D’Antonio had already heard from Trump: Tom Cruise once called Donald to see if he could use the Wollman skating rink in Central Park (which Trump had renovated with much fanfare in 1986) during off-hours. Donald was very flattered that the actor had called him personally—but Melania pointed out, “Oh, but, Donald, you’re more famous than he is.” Trump seemed to feel that this story was “an example of their affection,” recalls D’Antonio. “Praising his fame, hyping his fame, was a wifely duty. The people in Trump’s orbit have all memorized the same stories. And they repeat them word for word.”
Here’s another story, from an unnamed source who once visited the Trumps at home when Melania was pregnant with Barron:
She was 35—“checkout time” for women, as Trump once told Howard Stern-and no longer the dewy fox he’d met seven years earlier. A visitor to one of Trump’s homes, late into Melania’s pregnancy, recalls him remarking that he agreed to the baby on the condition that Melania would get her body back. “She promised him that everything would go back to the way it was,” says this guest; it struck this person as a “contract.” And he was simply rude to her. “There was no ‘How do you feel?’ No opening of doors, making sure she didn’t fall. Just ‘You wanted to have a baby.’ ” (Grisham counters that Mr. Trump was “very warm and supportive throughout her pregnancy.”)
Reading through Vanity Fair’s profile, you almost feel a little bit sad for Melania. Except then you realize that’s completely absurd. Save your compassion and concern for the millions of immigrants the Trumps are trying to kick out of the country, instead.