Just a couple of hours before President Trump announced that he and his wife, first lady Melania, had tested positive for coronavirus, the world was exposed to the so-called ‘Melania Tapes’. Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a former friend of the first lady, released to CNN multiple recordings she took of her private conversations with Melania. Leftists who already despise the first lady raged about how she supposedly ‘hates’ Christmas and doesn’t care about migrant children. However, the tapes actually revealed a deeply sympathetic and relatable figure belied by Melania’s somewhat aloof and statuesque public persona.
‘I’m working…my ass off on the Christmas stuff, that you know, who gives a fuck about the Christmas stuff and decorations? But I need to do it, right?’ Melania complains in one recording, capturing the hearts of every suburban mom who dreads dragging the boxes of Christmas decorations out of the attic every December. No one ever really appreciates the perfectly hung garland (or in Melania’s case, the White House model made from gingerbread), but still they soldier on out of a sense of duty to make the holiday as special as possible for their families (or the country). Anyone who’s ever spent hours hanging the ornaments just so on the tree only for the cat to smash the 2015 Annual Swarovski Snowflake Ornament knows Melania’s words aren’t an indictment of the holiday itself.
In another clip, Melania shatters the condescending and conspiratorial #FreeMelania meme, which purports that the first lady is secretly a liberal who must be rescued from a loveless and abusive marriage. When she goes off on the ‘liberal media’ and its coverage of the migrant child crisis at the border, Melania makes clear that not only she is not a victim, she is perhaps just as right-wing as her husband. That automatically makes her a hero to conservative women who are routinely accused of betraying their gender and voting Republican because they are subservient to their husbands.
The ‘liberals’, which Melania admits she likes to ‘drive crazy’, must have known that these recordings were not the bombshell they made them out to be. Multiple Twitter personalities and media figures tried to ignite more controversy by selectively editing one of Melania’s quotes. PBS reporter Yamiche Alcindor, Washington Post reporter Phil Rucker, Obama bro Tommy Vietor and more all claimed that Melania said, ‘They said, “Oh, what about the children that they were separated?” Give me a fucking break,’ when referring to the administration’s child separation policy. They conveniently left out her subsequent line, ‘Where they were saying anything when Obama did that?’ indicating that her she was frustrated with the double standard of coverage and not dismissing the plight of the children. I suppose these hacks didn’t realize that they were proving Melania’s point when she said, ‘they are against us because they are liberal media.’
Wolkoff and CNN made a major miscalculation. They thought that exposing Melania’s intimate conversations would turn Wolkoff into a folk hero. Instead, it revealed her to be a horrible friend who was willing to abuse Melania’s trust in order to sell books. None of us would want to be held accountable for the things we think or say in our most private moments, but if the worst Melania says behind closed doors is that she gets annoyed with Christmas decorations and can’t stand the media, she sure is a hell of a lot like us.