UPDATE: Melania Trump has made a real impact as first lady. It has not always been easy for her, but she has made a real impact. This article has been updated to reflect her first two years in office.
Melania Has Shown Class, Poise, and Judgment
Of course, Melania has been the focus of intense media attention, not all of it fair or honest, but discussions of a candidate’s spouse has been fair game since the earliest days of the Republic. Andrew Jackson killed a newspaper editor in a duel for insulting his wife.
Jacquelyn Kennedy, Nancy Reagan, and, yes, even Hillary Clinton were covered with a smothering intensity, and the public did not know Melania Trump very well when her husband was inaugurated. But it is clear she is making a huge effort to fill her official role and she has established herself as a steady presence inside of an often turbulent White House.
Is Melania Trump a Mail Order Bride?
There was probably more intensive focus on the private life of Melania than on the private life of any previous presidential candidate. It was a tough campaign and it certainly added to the burden after her husbands upset victory over Hillary Clinton.
Surrogates for Donald’s political opponents suggest that Melania is a mail order bride. After all she is from Eastern Europe and twenty-four years younger than the President. She is sexy and beautiful former fashion model from Slovenia, so she must be a mail order bride they whisper.
These hacks subtly insinuating that Donald bought her and that Melania is either a prostitute or a gold digger. This is a blatant example of mail order bride shaming and it is grossly unfair and completely unsupported by the most recent scientific research into the practice.
This unfounded stereotype paints the women who meet men through international dating agencies as prostitutes or gold diggers. It accuses the men of being fools or human traffickers, and often causes real emotional pain for the children. In the political context, even in an election, this was unfair and unethical.
Mysterious sources began raising this question when Trump started to separate himself from the pack of GOP hopefuls. This has not been a hack job by the mainstream media. Most American news outlets have been fair and respectful, but there is a nasty undercurrent that has the finger prints of the radical feminist who conflate international dating with human trafficking.
Someone asked the question on Yahoo Answers in December of 2015 and worried that, “If he wins will it legitimize the mail order bride industry since you’ll have one of those couples in the White House.” The “Best Answer” was an anonymous screaming attack against mail order brides that seemed to mix the radical feminist analysis of international dating with deep hatred of Trump.
Then in July of 2016 a day before the start of the GOP convention someone posted an article on a variety of message boards asking the same question. The apparently independent author claims that Melania was a mail order bride. The author then goes on to attack Trump for possible infidelity; he claims that Trump was still married to his second wife when he met Melania.
Perhaps, this was the work of someone from the GOP establishment trying to tarnish Trump’s ethical standing within the party.
The article asserts that Melania was registered with A Foreign Affair, one of the international dating sites that we review here at International Love Scout, during about 1996. That is at least potentially possible because A Foreign Affair is one of the oldest agencies, dating back to 1995. Melania would have been about twenty-five at the time and it is possible an ambitious young woman like her would have been tempted to sign up with a mail order bride agency.
However, the author of this supposedly salacious comment is probably just passing on rumors, because the he admits that when he contacted representatives of A Foreign Affair at their headquarters in Phoenix they would neither confirm nor deny the story.
Now, that part of the story is undoubtedly true. AFA is a classy organization. They take the privacy of their clients seriously. They are never going to confirm or deny any story about one of their previous clients – if Donald Trump was ever a client.
So, was Melania a mail order bride? Who knows? Our writing staff here was unable to independently confirm any elements of the story.
Melania Is a Great Mother
At International Love Scout our opinion is that it should not matter how they met. They are a happy couple to all appearances and that is what should matter. Well, that and the fact that Melania has been a great mother to her son, Barron.
She has defended Barron against attacks political opponents of his father. She told Fox News’ Sean Hannity that,
“Children should be off limits. I protect him. I want to give him [as] normal [of a] life as possible. This is not normal life, but I like to protect him and give him the childhood that he deserves,
She got support for that from a variety of from White House residents including Chelsea Clinton who Tweeted,
Please leave Barron Trump out of ‘jokes’ & analyses. He’s a kid and private citizen and deserves to be left alone. Thank you
And clearly, Melania’s role as a mother is at the forefront of her thoughts and she considers herself a full-time mom. Before she moved into the White House she cooked breakfast for Barron, took him to school, and refused to hire a nanny.
And this is the sort of domestic attitude that is common among many Russian and Ukrainian brides. It is one of the reasons that mail order brides are so attractive to Western men. These ladies want to be great moms and nearly all see it as their highest duty.
Melania Is a Trophy Wife
Despite her effort to most feminists Melania is a mail order bride regardless of whether or not she actually met Trump with the aid of a matchmaker or not. But they have even worse criticisms – well at least in their minds – that nothing she can do can change.
She was a beautiful, talented young woman from a relatively impoverished Eastern European country and he was an American billionaire. To her feminist critics that makes her a trophy wife – a term they always view as a pejorative – which is idiotic to anyone who seriously considers the issue.
Should beautiful young women ignore the advances of successful, older men because it annoys feminists that these lucky women are able to gain wealth and status because of their looks? Should they feel like gold diggers because these men enjoy spending money on them.
It simply is nuts.
Donald and Melania seem to have a reasonably happy marriage. And it does not take a lot of insight to see that Melania is willing to see she is willing to stand up to her husband AND unlike virtually all other first ladies she has been willing to show the world she is annoyed by pushing his hand away in public.
That is simply unheard of, but Melania has done it more than once. She also faced down arguably her husbands most intimidating subordinate, National Security Advisor John Bolton, and forced him to fire his favorite assistant who was rude to her on Melania’s solo trip to Africa.
This all is exactly the opposite of what most feminists expected. They argued that she was not a strong, intelligent woman who can advocate for women and children and represent the United States at international events. To feminists she was, at the very best, the victim of a power imbalance who essentially was forced to sell her body to escape poverty and whether or not the woman believes she is happy or not is beside the point. This is the most generous view feminist have about women they consider trophy wives and mail order brides.
It is the standard feminist critique of international dating. It is not fair. It ignores the long history of mail order brides and It lumps hundreds of thousands of women from scores of nations with every imaginable level of education and talent into one category. It follows a Marxist logic that reduces everything to economics, and, at least in the case of Melania Trump, it is simply not true.
Melania was not a wide eyed, poverty stricken waif who was just swept off her feet by The Donald – not at all.
Eastern European Model
Melania Trump was born in a small city in Slovenia when it was part of Yugoslavia. Her mother was considered a great beauty and her father was an ambitious factory worker who is reported to have been a member of the communist party. Yugoslavia was not a rich country, but she was not poor by the standards of when and where she lived. In fact, her childhood seems idyllic.
She was a pretty girl who was always interested in fashion and as young woman she followed the time honored trail from beauty pageants to local modeling to larger contract in France and Italy. This is a very similar path to many of the Eastern European models profiled on International Love Scout.
Melania was not a super model, but she was a successful working model. That alone is a real accomplishment and compares very favorably with the career accomplishments of any other first lady. Succeeding as a working model is like trying to succeed as a professional athlete. It is a goal that millions aspire to, but very few accomplish.
And like with professional athletes people often underestimate the drive, passion, and intelligence it takes to succeed in the ruthless world of high fashion. Melania was hardworking and focused on advancing her career. By the mid-1990s she was living on and off in New York City.
Some critics of her husband toss out all sorts of allegations about her immigration status and lifestyle during this period.
On August 16 the British newspaper The Daily Mail ran an article about her modeling career with the headline, “’Naked photoshoots, and troubling questions about visas that won’t go away: The VERY racy past of Donald Trump’s Slovenian wife’.” The article tossed out a variety of scandalous allegations supported only by the flimsiest of rumors.
Melania immediately sued and on September 1 The Daily Mail capitulated and offered a groveling retraction. The retraction should lay these rumors to rest. Melania Trump was a successful model and it appears she was in compliance with U.S. immigration law. She received her residency under rules for immigrants with exceptional talents, often models, actors, athletes, and academics.
So, Melania was a successful, independent working woman before she met Donald Trump. According to 2015 a profile of the couple in People Magazine the two first met at a 1998 party. Trump spotted the beautiful model and made the approach, but didn’t get far. Trump remembered that, “I tried to get her number, and she wouldn’t give it to me.”
She was not going to just be swept off her feet because Donald was a well-known businessman. This is not a shocker. Models meet actors, athletes, celebrities, and wealthy businessmen all the time. That is simply the nature of the business.
In fact, Donald’s larger than life reputation hurt his chances with her. She remembered that before that first meeting, “I had heard he was a ladies’ man, and so I said, ‘I’m not one of the ladies.’” Melania was not a wide eyed innocent fresh to the scene.
Melania’s attitude is representative of the sort of moxy and confidence that we often see with the ladies we profile here at International Love Scout. She deserves props for controlling her own destiny and again the evidence from the most recent academic studies show that the vast majority of women who sign up for international dating agencies are adept at maintaining the level of control they desire in a relationship.
Mr. and Mrs. Trump
Of course, eventually she took his number and called him several weeks later. After a seven year courtship they did marry in 2005 in a ceremony attended by Bill and Hillary Clinton among the guests.
And whether or not she was officially a mail order bride their relationship has many of the positive hallmarks noted in the marriages of Western men and foreign women. The marriage has lasted well over a decade and it seems to be a happy marriage. Trump and Melania have one child, a son, Barron, born in 2006.
In an interview with Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren Melania explained that, “We don’t have fights. We disagree but that’s OK. That’s very good in the relationship. I’m with my own brains, he’s with his own brains. … I tell him my way and he accepts that, and I tell him what I think and he’s the same. He thinks what he thinks.” That seems like a good approach. She is obviously not a poor abused wife. There is give and take.
Of course, the feminist critics at Huffington Post don’t even like the fact that Melania and Donald do not fight. Most average people probably assume it would be much worse if they were fighting. They would certainly be getting more criticism if they were fighting.
Melania was a successful international model when she met Donald Trump, but it is true that being his wife has given her far more financial security, but whether or not the relationship has been better for her or Donald is debatable.
In 1998 Donald was separated from his second wife, Marla Maples. His business empire was not exactly failing, but he was facing a variety of challenges in Atlantic City and in his other holdings. He was know as a New York real estate magnate, important, but no more significant than hundreds of other successful entrepreneurs. His name recognition was largely limited to the Northeast and there was no reason to imagine it would ever expand much farther.
In the last eighteen years since he first met Melania the Trump brand has exploded in value and it was really this phenomenal success that allowed Donald to become a significant national political power. Is Melania responsible for that?
No, Trump was a successful businessman before they met, but she certainly seems to have provided him the love and support he needs at home to succeed in the business world. Marriage tends to be very good for men, especially when they marry a younger woman.
So, in many regards the relationship between Donald and Melania Trump bears all of the positive hallmarks that are so often apparent in marriages between successful, older Western men and younger women from other areas of the world.
Marrying “The Donald” opened many doors for her, but perhaps he got the better end of the bargain? Many of the men who marry mail order brides believe they are the lucky ones, maybe Donald is in that category?
Maybe Melania’s love and support allowed him to overcome his business challenges, become a household name, far more successful than he had been before he met her, and launch the most shocking presidential campaign in American history?
Now, Melania, a small-town girl from a country few Americans could find on a map, is the most unlikely first lady to ever reign over the White House social calendar. It sets up an amazing situation.
First Lady Melania
Melania gave the White House a touch of glamour, but also a touch of compassion. According to almost everyone who has worked with her she has a sweet, tender disposition. She grew up in relative poverty and has seen more of the world than any previous first lady before moving into the White House.
And Melania, having grown up in a multi-lingual nation, is a talented linguist. Serbo-Croatian was the lingua franca of the old Yugoslavia, so Melania learned that as a girl along with her native Slovenian, but she also speaks English, French, Italian, and German. That is an impressive accomplishment. It gives her a skill few first ladies could match and might be able to help break the ice at diplomatic events.
So, Melania brought a unique background and skill set to the position as first lady, but the most important thing Melania will do is be a supportive wife to the president. They seem to be happy together and being president is an incredibly tough job. For Donald Trump to succeed as the 45th president of the United States he is going to needs the full support of his family. Generally, the United States has been very well served by its first ladies and Melania would undoubtedly work as hard to grow into the role as she did to succeed as a model.
This is not a political endorsement. Donald Trump is a very different sort of political animal. Perhaps that is going to be great and perhaps it is not. We are thankfully not a political news site, but no one should be tossing any sort of aspersions at Melania. It is simply unfair and that is why our regular readers might note that we did not provide any links to the ugly attacks on her.
Melania Trump Is a Mail Order Bride
No, Melania Trump may NOT have actually met Donald Trump through A Foreign Affair or another international matchmaking agency, but she does have many of the same attributes of the beautiful, talented women we profile here at International Love Scout.
The mail order brides we profile constantly amaze us with their compassion, intelligence, and, yes, beauty. Recently, attitudes towards international dating are improving because researchers are finally looking at these men and women as individuals and not simply as theoretical concepts. A woman has to be brave, smart, and driven to decide she is going to marry a man from the other side of the world.
Melania has a track record of being a brave and intelligent woman. She left home at a young age and succeeded in an demanding field full of traps for the unwary, unlucky, or dumb.
Apparently, she did not simply allow Donald Trump to sweep her off her feet. She seems to have a good hear on her shoulders and it will be interesting to see how she defines her role as first lady, because she is bringing such a different set of cultural expectations to the position.
Feminists may call her a mail order first lady, but hopefully she will be able to embrace the term and reduce the shame that many of these couples carry. She is tough enough and smart enough to do it and we believe she will be a great first lady because she is so similar to the smart, classy ladies we see here all the time.
Editor-in chief – An over educated international traveler, he sets ILS’ light, positive tone. Chuck constantly pushes to ensure every article is supported by good sources, preferably from peer reviewed journals, government reports, or top-flight newspapers and magazines.