Melania Trump embarrassment: FLOTUS breaks long-standing First Ladies’ election tradition

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Melania Trump has failed to take on the mantle of her predecessors by reducing to a minimum the number of appearances made on the US Election 2020 campaign trail, Mr Sopel noted. Both joint and solo outings have been scarce as US President Donald Trump attempts to regain ground against his main opponent Joe Biden, with FLOTUS remaining behind-the-scenes in the run-up to the election. The BBC America editor suggested FLOTUS’s decision represented a clear break from the precedent previous presidential partners set.

Speaking to the Today programme, Mr Sopel said: “Melania Trump has not appeared, so far, except accompanying Donald Trump at the debates.

“And even then, there are pictures of her leaving the stage where she wrenches her arm away from the President as she’s walking off stage.”

He continued: “If you compare it with any First Ladies who’ve been involved…remember, the First Lady is an official position in the US Constitution.

“It’s not like being the Prime Minister’s wife. The First Lady has a budget, has an office and the rest of it.

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“Uniquely, Melania Trump has absolutely stayed out of this election.”

Melania Trump had already not been appearing much on in the campaign but has increasingly reduced her outings since catching the coronavirus alongside the rest of her family in September.

The role of First Lady has developed into a more politically-active position, with presidential partners setting up their own campaigns and playing a key role in helping boost the President’s support ratings.

Melania Trump launched her anti-bullying campaign shortly after President Trump’s swearing-in ceremony in 2017.

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