Meet Melania Trump: the one filling Michelle Obama’s shoes?

Whilst Donald Trump dominates the newpaper headlines at the moment, little do we know about the lady standing beside the next American president. She is Melania Trump, America’s First Lady-to-be.

Although not gaining as much spotlight as Michelle Obama back in the election trail in 2009, Melania does not have a plain story to tell. Born in 1970, in Novo Mesto, Yugolasiva, (nowadays Slovenia), Melania Trump became a model at the age of 16 and moved to America to continue her career. Later, she married Donald Trump, becoming his third wife. Compared to Michelle Obama, Melania Trump was less active in front of the campaign. As ABC News said, “Melania takes the backseat of the campaign, only appearing a handful of times in the trails.” Indeed, as a mother of a nine-year-old son, Melania admits that she focuses on her responsibility as a mother.

In conducting outrageous speeches regarding immigration, Donald Trump gained the media’s attention on his ruthless plans for deporting immigrants. Yet, having immigrated to the USA with an H-1B visa, which Donald Trump once claimed was subject to “rampant, widespread abuse”, Melania is the person who embodies such great ironies. Indeed, given the circumstances through which Trump gains his notorious fame, such as racist remarks on the topic of “building walls across the US-Mexican border” as well as “a complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States”, Melania could use her own background, being an immigrant, to relate herself to the American immigrants. This could effectively reduce discontent of the public to his offensive comments on ethnic minorities. Thus, this could establish a better image for Trump as the US president – the country that was originally established by immigrants.

As the first black American First Lady, Michelle Obama openly supports people of colour in newspapers and reality shows as well as public speeches. In her speech in Tuskegee University when receiving her honorary degree, Michelle publicly talked about racism and white privilege.

“Racism and discrimination are not an excuse to lose hope. To succumb to feelings of despair and anger only means that in the end, we lose.”

Her speech on how the black community experienced prejudice had a great impact on public attention. Indeed, Michelle Obama, unlike other first ladies in the past, actively engages in issues related to race and equality. As a future first lady, Melania should also proactively present herself in university talks, television shows and social media to demystify Trump’s radical plans. Indeed, with Trump’s aggressive stance on sensitive issues, such as racism, Melania could present herself as the “political figure”, taking up a supportive role to ethnic minorities. Even though Melania claims she supports her husband on more forceful restrictions on immigration policies, she should still stand up as an immigrant, actively helping the current immigrants in America. In terms of issues such as language barriers and discrimination, Melania could definitely help fight for their rights. This could strike a balance with the harsh approach taken by Trump. Thus, as a PR maneuver, this could ease the discontent from the public.

Michelle Obama also places great emphasis on gender equality and education for women. During this year’s electoral campaign, Trump’s crude comments on women startled and angered many people. Indeed, as America’s future First Lady, Melania has an obligation to safeguard women’s rights. As a supermodel and deemed to be a successful figure to society, Melania’s participation in women’s rights could definitely further people’s awareness of underprivileged women not only in America, but also around the globe. Having initiated the programme Let Girls Learn in 2015, Michelle Obama does commit herself to the issue of the provision of education for women in less fortunate situations. Melania is now in a perfect position to endorse such projects, helping women who are suffering from all kinds of discrimination.

Of course, the biggest news about Melania Trump would definitely be her plagiarized speech from Michelle Obama. Yet, after Donald Trump was elected, she announced her concern over cyber-bullying, stating, “Our culture has gotten too mean and too rough, especially to children and teenagers.”

For a Yugoslavian supermodel to become America’s first lady-to-be, Melania still has a lot to learn. Yet, as she has promised on ABC news to fight against cyber-bullying, this could be a nice kick-start of her new path in politics. Indeed, actions speak louder than words. Whether Melania will be competent enough to fill Michelle’s shoes, we will wait and see…

[Ernest Shiu]

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