Ever since Trump’s meme-worthy inauguration day on January 20th, the hashtag #FreeMelania has swept across social media in response to her awkward mannerisms and facial expressions. From that day onward, it’s been hard for the world to ignore just how trapped and bewildered Mrs Trump appears to be in her new role as FLOTUS – and who can blame her?
Considering that ‘The Donald’ is officially the most unpopular President elect in modern history, Melania Trump doesn’t have the easiest job in the world as First Lady. It’s kind of like being the mother of a vicious school bully, with the frightening exception that this bully doesn’t just rule the school – he’s in charge of the free world. Melania now has a duty to appear supportive and trusting towards this racist sociopath with a predilection for “grabbing women by the pussy” so quite unsurprisingly, the cracks are starting to show.
Throughout Trump’s election campaign, the couple never seemed hugely cosy in each other’s company (especially when you compare their chemistry to that of the Obama’s) and the awkwardness on display during Trump’s inauguration – especially during that first dance – was plain for all to see… Melania isn’t happy. That cringe-worthy moment and more have managed to capture a First Lady trapped in the headlights and one that sourly regrets her decision to stick by her deluded husband.
Body language never lies and these photos reveal just how unhappy life as Mrs Trump really is. The following pics pretty much prove that Melania secretly wants to be rid of Donald once and for all…
15. Donald Drops a Bombshell on Melania
In an interview with Good Morning America last October, Trump exercised his control over Melania by announcing to the interviewer that she had agreed to do “two or three more speeches” during his presidential campaign. This was news to Melania who shoots him a look of surprise and gasps at her supposed ‘promise’.
A lack of communication is a pretty poisonous thing in any relationship, but for the soon-to-be President to completely bulldoze over his wife like this doesn’t bode well. After Melania’s disastrous speech earlier in 2016 (for which she was accused of plagiarizing Michelle Obama’s 2008 address), giving another speech will have been the last thing on her mind. Nevertheless, Trump rushed in to speak on Melania’s behalf and made her look pretty weak in the process.
14. The Vanishing Smile
Melania’s lightning-quick mood change was undoubtedly the highlight of Trump’s inauguration day and it’s the image that started the #FreeMelania campaign on Twitter. In the middle of being sworn in as the 45th President of the United States, an elated Trump looks behind him and mouths something to Melania who forces an encouraging smile. But the second her husband’s back is turned, her smile doesn’t just fade – it drops into the most depressed frown ever.
No wonder the words #FreeMelania were trending after this. If this doesn’t look like a cry for help, we don’t know what does! In what should be a joyful, proud moment for Mrs Trump looked more like someone being held hostage at the event. Trump supporters claim that she shut down her smile because they were in the middle of prayer, but this doesn’t explain why everyone but Melania continued smiling.
13. Melania and Donald Dating
This pic, taken in a New York club in 1999, is one of the first photos of the couple having only met each other the previous year. They should have still been in the honeymoon period and the first throes of love – but you wouldn’t know it from Melania’s awkward body language!
Whereas Trump looks as relaxed and confident as ever, his new girlfriend appears tense all over. Her arms and legs are noticeably facing away from Donald and her face appears pretty wooden – like she’s closing in on herself. Considering Melania has her picture taken for a living, you think she’d appear a little more chilled for the camera! This is a clear sign that this isn’t someone she’s happy to be seen with romantically.
12. Mistrust at the Voting Booth
As it turns out, Melania can’t even be trusted by ‘The Donald’ to vote privately, as evidenced by this pic in which Trump can’t help but peer over his wife’s shoulder while she cast her official vote back in November. They’re called voting ‘booths’ for a reason, Donald! Unsurprisingly, Trump’s violation of Melania’s privacy soon went viral, with many comedians taking to Twitter for their take on it.
The comedian Chelsea Handler captioned it with: “When you’re worried that your wife copied Michelle again.” Meanwhile British comic, David Schneider, went with “He’s looking. Dammit! I want to vote for Hillary.” Speaking of Hillary, her and husband Bill Clinton cast their votes heads down without peeking. When there’s more trust between the Clinton’s than your own relationship, you know you got issues….
11. The ‘Air Kiss’
There was a lot of speculation following Trump’s inauguration about whether or not Donald and Melania actually kissed each other or not in an awkward moment before Trump gave his first official speech as POTUS. Before the newly-appointed President stepped up to address the crowd, he lent in towards Melania for a kiss. However, a camera shot from behind revealed that the couple never actually made contact.
Each time a President interacts with his First Lady, it’s important to show affection and project the image of a family man and devoted husband. But this is Donald Trump we’re talking about, so I guess an ‘air kiss’ was enough. Melania didn’t exactly make an effort to lean in a few inches closer either, and the result is yet another cold and loveless moment from the Trumps.
10. Misery at the Inauguration Lunch
Fans of Titanic might recognise something eerily familiar about this picture. Melania’s eyes are open and she’s deep in thought while Donald (and presumably, the rest of the party) are in prayer or otherwise oblivious to her. Remember a certain dinner scene just before Rose (Kate Winslet) decides to go for an icy dip?
Before Rose runs off to the edge of the ship, her guests are chatting and ignoring her. All the while, her internal dialogue mentions imagining her life as “an endless parade of parties, yachts and polo matches. Always the same narrow people, always the same mindless chatter. I felt like I was standing at a great precipice, with no one to pull me back, no one who cared…or even noticed.” Whatever Melania was really thinking, it sure as hell wasn’t about the tableware.
9. On the Campaign Trail
Bless Melania for trying to appear happy in the man’s presence, but this gesture is as about as genuine as her vanishing smile at the inauguration. According to body language expert, Patti Wood, Melania’s out-reaching hands read as “a desire to connect, rather than showing a connection”. This implies that Trump may have asked her to rehearse this move to help with his image during important rallies.
Genuine affection is spontaneous and according to Wood, everything about this move is forced – Melania’s hands are straight out and her fingers are not curved, so she appears stiff, not relaxed. Wood also suggested that the way Melania has approached Donald here could also be a desire for him to stop talking. Both interpretations are good, but the latter seems the most likely!
8. The First Dance ‘Gap’
When the world watched the Trumps take to their first dance, the awkwardness was unbearable. I feel like most of us would have better chemistry dancing with our sibling at prom than Donald and Melania appeared to share together. Firstly, Melania’s body language was so stiff and robotic. Her hand is pressed flat against his back instead of curved and relaxed – a clear sign that she was secretly pleading for the song to be over.
The most telltale sign of her discomfort though, was the colossal gap between her and ‘The Donald’. Throughout most of the dance, Melania keeps Trump at a distance (both physically and emotionally). In comparison, the Obama’s first dance in 2008 saw Barack and Michelle dance close and act playfully with each other. Melania, however, wasn’t feeling the love and we were just feeling sick…
7. When Obama’s ‘Hand Kiss’ Stole the Show
The Obama’s kept photo-bombing the entire inauguration day with their genuine displays of affection and mutual respect, making Melania and Donald look as if they barely knew each other. This was especially obvious when the foursome stood on the White House steps and Barack Obama affectionately took Michelle’s hand and kissed it.
Trump and Melania, on the other hand? They appear as awkward as two strangers trying to make small talk at a bus stop. According to body language expert, Patti Wood, it’s clear that Melania is just an object to Trump – “He didn’t even touch her. I don’t see any warmth or true love in that relationship whatsoever.” The lukewarm smile they offered each other in this moment and the lack of eye contact says it all.
6. Trump Leaves Melania Behind
We know this was the most exciting day of Donald Trump’s entire life, but he could have remembered that his wife was a part of it too! When the Trumps arrived at the White House on the morning of the inauguration, Donald rushed up the steps to make nice with the Obama’s, whilst poor Melania was left holding the present (and her dignity) by the car.
It’s very telling that Melania has previously revealed that she has no plans to move into the White House immediately, choosing to remain in New York for the majority of Donald’s first year as President while their youngest son, Barron Trump, attends school. This picture is the perfect visual metaphor for Melania’s reluctance and unhappiness as FLOTUS…and this is just the beginning.
5. Cold Victory Hug
This pic of the Trumps was snapped only hours after the result came in that he had won the US presidency, but there’s nothing especially celebratory about the way Melania is responding to her husband’s embrace. If you didn’t know they were husband and wife, it almost looks like a friend-zone peck on the cheek!
Trump has a passionate and forceful hold of Melania, but she is displaying classic signs of distancing in her body language, as expert Patti Wood points out – “Her arm is not wrapped around his, her fingers are splayed out instead of together or cupping his arm. That’s not normally how you would respond to a kiss from your husband.” Can you blame Melania? This is the same man who openly admitted to “grabbing women by the pussy”. Let’s be thankful he didn’t show his joy in another way…
4. Melania VS. Michelle
From the word go, the contrast between Melania Trump and Michelle Obama was clear – Michelle carries herself in a very open and expressive way, whereas Mrs Trump keeps her cards very close to her chest. The chasm between the two personalities was made painfully clear in Melania’s first meeting with the former First Lady.
As body language expert, Elizabeth Kuhnke brilliantly assessed it, Melania “seems like a girl who has been called into the headteacher’s office: she looks nervous, her body is contained and she is holding everything in.” Melania seems timid, weak and embarrassed – in other words, a perfect First Lady for Trump to mould and control as he sees fit. Michelle’s gestures, on the other hand, suggest self-confidence and that she is Barack Obama’s equal.
3. First Dance Scowl
As well as keeping her distance from Donald during their first dance, First Lady Melania also made her feelings of discomfort known with a pretty constant scowl. Whilst ‘The Donald’ was in his element, mouthing along to Frank Sinatra’s My Way, Mrs Trump looked less than impressed. While Trump was having a whale of a time, pulling his wife in close, Melania was resisting him during every second of their clumsy shuffle dance.
Instead of smiling at her husband or the audience, her face and arms appeared to be locked in a gesture that says “I don’t want to merge with you as a partner”, according to body language experts. Even during the brief moment that Melania leaned in to kiss Donald, there was no smile or laugh afterwards that you would typically see in a loving couple. No wonder she was scowling throughout – Trump probably had Melania rehearse this gruelling ‘dance’ for weeks.
2. The Obama’s ‘Guiding’ Melania Inside White House
It’s clear that Donald’s head was in the clouds on January 20th, because yet again, he forgot all about his wife and First Lady during really crucial parts of the day. After leaving Melania to present their parting gift to the Obama’s alone, another cringe-worthy moment happened when the four of them headed through the White House doors.
As they all turned to enter the White House, Donald stormed on ahead, leaving his wife to be escorted in by the Obama’s – like a lost child. Not only does this highlight Melania’s reluctance to be a part of it all, it also reveals how little she means to Trump. Marching on ahead without giving Melania so much as a smile or backward glance reveals that this is ‘Donald’s day’ and for him, nothing takes priority over this.
1. Melania’s ‘What Have I Done?’ Face
This prophetic pic was taken in March of last year during the campaign rallies in Detroit – when Trump was really starting to gain momentum as a Presidential candidate. At this point, Trump’s desire for the role was unquestionable and the world was slowly beginning to realize that this was no stunt – Donald Trump fully intended to be the next President and turn America upside down.
Melania’s expression here seems to sum up how the world was feeling about the idea of this man running their country – scared, helpless and doubtful for the future. From here on in, Trump meant business (no pun intended!) and Mrs Trump appears to have realised it too late. When the young Melanija Knavs left her home town in Slovenia to pursue a modelling career, she can’t have ever believed she’d end up here…