Fox News is reporting that Melania Trump has a much “leaner” budget as the first lady. Michelle Obama’s budget, to use their words, was “bloated,” with sixteen employees making a combined $1.24 million a year. The current first lady only employs four people, with a total payroll under half a million dollars. But, while the Fox News are no doubt patting themselves on the back for pointing out these great savings to the taxpayers, there are two thing they conveniently leave out:
First, Melania Trump doesn’t actually do anything, and second, Melania is costing the taxpayers a fortune because she is unwilling to “take one for the team.”
Michelle Obama was never just “Barack Obama’s wife.” She was Obama’s mentor at the prestigious law firm Sidley Austin before they were romantically involved, and she worked as the Associate Dean of Student Services at the University of Chicago, and the Vice President for Community and External Affairs of the University of Chicago Medical Center.
As the first lady, she had the ambitious “Let’s Move” campaign, she advocated for equal pay for women, actively campaigned and negotiated for her husband’s causes, she met with world leaders, and the whole time managed to raise two teenage girls and keep those buff arms.
Melania, on the other hand, was a model. It was literally her job to stand there and look pretty. Now, to be fair, looking pretty isn’t easy—there’s a reason we have professionals do it for us. But while I know Melania Trump works hard for herself and her family, that’s about as far as her scope of empathy goes. She has no concept of public service. Her job, nominally, is to have an anti-bullying campaign. But, judging by the behavior of her husband and step-children, she is very, very, very bad at it.
She is, as is well documented, costing our country a fortune to protect her and her family. According to the New York Times, it cost the City of New York between $123,000 and $146,000 every day to protect Melania. Let me be clear: this is not money to protect the president, this is only to protect her. Had she simply lived in the White House, she could drop that bill down to only the cost of the salaries of the Secret Service agents watching her.
And, to anyone who makes excuses for her, like, “she’s press-shy,” or, “she’d wouldn’t be able to manage her businesses,” or maybe “What about Baron?” Well, to them I say this: So what? It’s called public service for a reason. If she wasn’t ready to be the first lady, she never should have campaigned for her husband. Trump has multiple properties in nearby Westchester County, NY; also nearby Stamford, CT or Jersey City, NJ; multiple properties in Florida; or as far away as Hawaii. I love New York City as much as the next guy, but if I had to pay $150,000 a day in rent, I’d move to the goddamned suburbs.
To call Melania’s budget “lean” is grossly misleading. It’s just another example of Fox News trying to make Trump look like he’s a capable leader.