The inauguration of Donald Trump into office last Friday was a depressing and very poorly attended event. Despite his awareness of cameras, Trump and Co. didn’t seem to realize how closely people were following his interactions with his wife, Melania Trump. Frankly, it didn’t look good.
Tweets showing how Trump walked ahead of Melania instead of waiting for her as Obama did years ago in a similar moment, tweets showing her miserable face sitting next to her husband, a terrifying gif in which she goes from smiling to “death mask” in five seconds when he looks away from her: they all had people calling for “Free Melania!”
A lot of these jokes are funny or sad, depending on your perspective, but it’s important to remember that in many ways Melania Trump is complicit in what Donald Trump is doing to America.
For example, this interview from 2011 on the Joy Behar Show, in which she defends Donald Trump fanning the flames of the “Birther Movement,” a group of people who steadfastly denied that President Barack Obama was an American citizen for years.
She also publicly defended the leaked audio taped of her husband saying he grabbed women “by the pussy,” calling it “boy’s talk” instead of a confession of sexual assault.
It’s possible for women to be exploited and coerced in relationships. I doubt very much that Melania Trump can be happy with our 45th president. But she is not an innocent person, and if she’s in a cage, it’s of her own making.