Melania stands by her man as Ivanka skips Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign
When Donald Trump officially launched his bid to regain the US presidency in 2024 earlier this week, high-profile daughter Ivanka was missing while his wife, Melania, reappeared.
First daughter Ivanka, 41, a key international player throughout his four-year term in the White House, didn’t show up to the family’s waterfront Mar-A-Lago estate in Florida to stand alongside hundreds of supporters in a flag-laden ballroom decorated with chandeliers.
Former first lady Melania – who famously protested during some of her time in Washington – was there.
Mr Trump, 76, is seeking to become only the second US president in history to serve non-consecutive terms after Grover Cleveland, whose second stint ended in 1897.
Melania took centre stage in a business-like navy and white polka-dotted shirt and white pencil skirt, and greeted White House alumni, she even stood to accept cheers and applause during her husband’s speech.
Both Ivanka and Melania had their share of high drama and controversy in Washington while Mr Trump served as the 45th US president.
“Ivanka has abandoned him and Melania has White House PTSD,” wrote the UK’s Independent overnight.
Ivanka is married to Jared Kushner – who served as a senior advisor to Mr Trump during his term as 45th president – and they have three children, Arabella, Theodore and Joseph.
They now live in luxury in uptown Miami, away from the spotlight.
“Like Melania, the duo did not have a happy time in DC and reportedly fell out behind the scenes with allies including John Kelly, Kellyanne Conway, Steve Bannon and Chris Christie, who accused them of profiting from nepotism rather than being in the corridors of power on merit,” the Independent claimed.
Ivanka Trump during a hearing by the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 riot. Photo: Getty
A special advisor to her father during the White House years, the question will be whether Ivanka is the missing link from the campaign trail.
“They have given no interviews, clarified that they are not considering political runs of their own and instead lead relatively low-key lives of travel and leisure and charity and finance, like the members of the New York social class they used to be before embracing Trump,” observed People earlier this year.
“It’s a reversal of their time in Washington DC when the pair were closely covered given their influence in government and also criticised for their lack of qualifications and their mixing of the personal and political.”
While Mr Kushner attended Mr Trump’s candidacy announcement, broadcast live across the US, Ivanka took to Instagram the same night to explain her dramatic absence.
“I love my father very much,” she wrote.
“This time around I am choosing to prioritise my young children and the private life we are creating as a family.
“I do not plan to be involved in politics.
“While I will always love and support my father, going forward I will do so outside the political arena.”
There’s good reason for her to bow out of the public spotlight for the next two years.
She’s got the findings from the Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol still hanging over her head for the next year or so, and a civil law suit.
New York Attorney-General Letitia James filed a $US250 million ($389 million) civil lawsuit in September against Mr Trump, his adult children Donald Jr, Eric and Ivanka and the New York-based Trump organisation for allegedly overvaluing assets and Trump’s net worth through a decade of lies to banks and insurers.
The former president and his family have repeatedly denied wrongdoing and called James’s inquiry a “witch hunt”.
Ivanka travelled the world and attended gala events, heading up the US delegation to South Korea for the 2018 Winter Olympics, and even joined her father during the historic 2019 meeting with North Korean rogue dictator Kim Jong-un.
She recently told Fox News that while she “never intended to go into politics,” she is “very proud of what I was able to accomplish”.
“I left it all on the field, and I don’t miss it,” she said.
Melania wore this notorious Zara jacket to visit kids in detention camps. Photo: Twitter
‘Never say never’
Mr Trump admitted during his 2024 announcement that Melania’s time in the White House “hasn’t been a joy ride”.
She famously complained that she loathed having to organise its (much mocked) Christmas decorations after CNN aired secret recordings of her venting her frustration with her job of decorating the White House for the festive season.
“I’m working … my ass off on the Christmas stuff, that you know, who gives a f— about the Christmas stuff and decorations? But I need to do it, right?” she said in recordings provided by her former friend and senior adviser Stephanie Winston Wolkoff.
“Then I do it, and I say I’m working on Christmas and planning for Christmas,” Melania said.
“They say, ‘What about the children that are separated?’ Give me a f—ing break.”
Or what about pushing away her husband’s hand on the steps of Air Force One and wearing a jacket bearing the slogan ‘I really don’t care, do u?’ on a visit to a migrant detention centre in Texas.
“You might think she would be much happier pursuing a life of leisure at Mar-a-Lago and hawking NFTs rather than returning to the political fray,” wrote the Independent.
But, during a Fox interview in May about a possible second run for her husband in the White House, she replied: “Never say never.”
Now there’s apparent marital bliss back on show.
In one of Mr Trump’s one-liners in announcing his second run, he left the best till last, and it referred to his beloved wife.
“I go home and she says, ‘you look angry and upset’. I say, ‘just leave me alone’.”
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