The First Lady of the United States broke tradition by arriving separately from husband to the State of the Union address on Tuesday night.
Wearing a white Christian Dior pantsuit, Melania Trump appeared in public for the first time since allegations of a 2006 affair between Donald Trump and adult film star, Stormy Daniels, surfaced earlier this year.
Media outlets were quick to suggest Melania’s all white ensemble was a nod to the suffrage movement and as a subtle protest against her husband. Yes, white pantsuits are seen as a modern-day equivalent to the outfits worn by suffragists, have been worn several times by Trump’s political rival Hillary Clinton, and were even worn by female Democratic senators to protest Trump during first address to Congress using the hashtag #WomenWearWhite.
But if you think wearing a white pantsuit makes Melania Trump a feminist hero – think again.
The lines were drawn well before cameras began rolling for Trump’s address to Congress. Many of the same female Democratic senators and members of the Democratic Women’s Working Group who wore white in protest of Donald Trump in 2017, decided to dress in black as a sign of solidarity with the women of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movement. In a divisive move, female members of the GOP announced earlier this week their intentions to wear red, white and blue to the State of the Union as a sign of support for the military.
The First Lady didn’t try to find a middle ground, made no reference to the movements with a white rose or a Time’s Up pin. Instead Melania chose to wear white; the opposite colour of the #MeToo and the Time’s Up movement. Melania may have arrived to the State of the Union alone, but her choice of outfit clearly signaled her allegiance to the GOP — and her husband.
It seems as though many people are searching for any sign that the First Lady will join the resistance and publicly denounce her husband’s actions. With each new allegation against Donald Trump, we wait for Melania to speak-out against him.
However there was no comment by the First Lady when 19 women came forward with accusations of sexual assault against her husband, and it has yet to come since it was reported he allegedly had an affair with another woman months after she gave birth to their only child together. The line in the sand is seemingly never drawn for Melania and Donald Trump – at least not in public.
In public, Melania Trump supports her husband. In 2016, Melania Trump defended Trump’s infamous “grab ‘em by the pussy” comments in an interview with Anderson Cooper as “boy talk” and suggested his comments were “egged on” by reporter Billy Bush. Melania also went on to defend Trump’s tweets criticizing reporter Mika Brzezinski. In fact, Melania has a long history of supporting her husband’s hateful behaviour. In 2011 well before Donald Trump announced any plans to run for office, Melania appeared on the Joy Behar show and echoed sentiments of her husband’s racist birther allegations, demanding to see Barack Obama’s birth certificate.
Melania Trump has had ample opportunity to voice her support for marginalized groups and condemn her husband’s overt racism and misogyny. If Melania wanted to separate herself from the current rhetoric of the Trump administration, the entire world would be watching.
It’s time to stop treating Melania Trump as a hostage in the gilded cage of the White House. Her actions or lack thereof, make her an accomplice to the Trump regime, and it’s time we stop watching her every move hoping she drops clues for us to interpret like a Taylor Swift music video.
Melania Trump is not a feminist hero – she’s just another white woman wearing expensive clothes.