So far she’s been nearly invisible and entirely inaudible. But one of these days Melania Trump will emerge from behind her gilded curtain and then, well, just you wait! You think the press and the people have gone gaga over Trump now… once his wife is part of the picture the celebrity factor will be multiplied many times over.
Melania Trump is no bimbo found in the bulrushes. Before she married Trump – she is his third wife – she was a highly successful model. She has since become a businesswoman, and is involved in several charitable endeavors. But let’s get real: the insatiable interest in her will be not for her substance, but for her style. She is drop dead gorgeous and dresses to kill.
Melania would hardly be the first wife of a presidential candidate, or of a president, known not for what she says or does, but for how she looks. Most recently in our history was Jackie, Jacqueline Kennedy, a formidable political asset I decades ago dubbed a “Decoration.”
The first book I ever wrote – it was published in 1980 – was titled All the President’s Kin. It made what at the time was an original argument: that for various reasons close members of president’s families – their parents, siblings, spouses and offspring – were becoming politically consequential. I grouped the presidents’ kin into several different types, one of which was “Decoration” – one of whom was Jackie.
Decorations were defined as follows
Decorations make the president [or candidate] more attractive. They enhance the man, make him and his administration more glamourous – or at least more appealing. They add nothing to the substance of the presidency but a great deal to the style. They lend an intangible aura of pleasure to the grit of day-to-day politics; their presence alone lends grace. At their best Decorations are in fact quite removed from politics. In what would appear, but only at first glance, to be a paradox, it is this distance that allows their charm to exert its political impact.
Let me be clear. Typing Melania Trump a Decoration does not mean typing her a lightweight – any more than typing Jacqueline Kennedy a Decoration meant typing her a lightweight. All I am claiming is that physical beauty can be a political asset of considerable consequence.