There’s a lot said about Donald and Melania Trump’s marriage, most of it insulting and cruel.
People who hate the president can’t believe anyone could love him.
At best, they regard his wife with pity, as the prisoner of a loveless marriage.
“Inside the Trump marriage: Melanie’s burden,” “The Sad Truth,” “Dark Secrets” are typical headlines.
“#SaveMelania” memes trended online as Vanity Fair fantasized she would divorce her husband and become a feminist icon.
Yet those who attended the state dinner for Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday tell a very different story.
They say the affection between the first couple is genuine, demonstrative and mutually respectful behind the scenes.
“It’s a real marriage, very affectionate,” said one Australian official who observed it up close and personal during the three-day state visit.
In press conferences Friday, the president took time out from declaring he could bomb Iran any time to lavish praise on his wife for her “great job” planning that night’s elegant Rose Garden soirée.
During the dinner, when Trump stood to toast Morrison, the president again paid tribute to his wife.
“I want to express my gratitude to America’s magnificent first lady for this totally exquisite evening. Thank you very much. You worked very hard on this … Great job, really great job, honey.”
Then, when the dinner was over, around 11 p.m., after the Trumps had farewelled their last guests and thought nobody was watching, stragglers who turned around on their way out the door glimpsed a spontaneous intimate moment: a husband and wife clinched in tight embrace, he whispering in her ear, she leaning in with a smile.
It was a scene familiar to any couple who has savored the afterglow of a successful social event.
In fact, by all reports, the state dinner, only the second for the Trump White House, was an unmitigated triumph and a coming of age for an increasingly sure-footed first lady.
“It was the most magnificent, spellbinding, magical night crafted out of the imagination of Mrs. Trump,” said Morrison afterward, admitting to being “overcome” by tears when the military orchestra played the iconic Australian song “Waltzing Matilda.”
Australian golfer Greg Norman, who had been seated next to Mrs. Trump, declared on Instagram that it was “the best event I have ever attended. EVER!”
Henry Kissinger reportedly told Trump chief of staff Mick Mulvaney it was one of the best official functions he had attended, high praise from a 96-year-old statesman whose career serving presidents began in the Nixon administration.
All this would be news to style-meisters of the media who have sneered at the first lady’s taste since she moved into the White House, which they anticipated would soon be tricked up in gold tack à la Trump Tower.
They even slammed her when she unveiled White House Christmas decorations — too white one year and too “Handmaid’s Tale” red the next.
But, according to Texas author Jennifer Pickens, who will include Friday’s dinner in an upcoming book, “Entertaining at the White House: Decades of Presidential Traditions,” the criticism is off-base.
“Mrs. Trump has impeccable taste,” said Pickens, who has previously interviewed White House staff involved in the dinner.
“She oversees every detail herself. She cares about the way things look, smell, taste and the way they feel.”
She said Mrs. Trump, who briefly studied architecture at the University of Ljubljana in her native Slovenia, wanted this dinner to be a more “intimate affair” than events under previous administrations — many held in big tents on the South Lawn.
The first lady spent months meticulously planning “every detail of the state dinner,” said her spokesperson, Stephanie Grisham, “including the menu, decor, seating and entertainment.”
Mrs. Trump decorated the Rose Garden like “Gone with the Wind”-meets-“The Great Gatsby,” the tables laden with yellow roses and presidential plates chosen in Australian colors of green and gold.
It was her idea to have an al fresco dinner in the Rose Garden, and she told one guest she had been praying it wouldn’t rain.
As it happened, the weather gods delivered a balmy Washington evening.
It was the kind of event that would receive a rapturous write-up in Vogue had Michelle Obama organized it. But despite Melania being tailor-made for fashion magazines, they turn up their noses.
Unlike her husband, the first lady is reluctant to blow her own trumpet, saying through Grisham only that she was “very happy with the end result.”
But the president could barely contain his pride in his wife’s accomplishment and, judging by their stolen embrace at night’s end, the regard was mutual.
Theirs may be one of those lucky marriages that thrive on adversity. Too bad for the haters.
Bitter Warren heading for no-man land
Readers shared my disdain for Elizabeth Warren’s denigration of men’s role in history during her rally at Washington Square Park last week.
Marissa, who describes herself as a 62-year-old gay conservative, wrote she was “sickened by the attack on the male population. I had a wonderful father, grandfather, uncle and many men in my life who I loved and still love fiercely.”
She also credits men with saving her life after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, when she worked on the 98th floor of Tower 2.
“Many, many of the men on my floor gathered us all up and told us to get to safety. Two of them, Eric Eisenberg and Gary Herrold, whom I worked with at Aon, knew something was terribly wrong. They made sure we got away from the windows, led us to the stairs and they stayed behind to help others. They did not survive.”
Truth about ‘supremacy’
Democrats scowled when Blexit leader Candace Owens told a congressional hate crimes hearing Friday that white supremacy today is a “fringe occurrence” that pales in comparison to father absence, illiteracy and abortion as threats to black America.
With her proud 75-year-old grandfather behind her, Owens described his childhood “on a sharecropping farm in the segregated South … where words like racism and white nationalism held real meaning under the Democratic Party’s Jim Crow laws.”
No one in good conscience would argue, she said, that America is a “more racist, more white nationalist society than it was when my grandfather was growing up.”
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