Prior to the announcement this week that she and President Donald Trump tested positive for COVID-19, First Lady Melania Trump was making headlines for the contents of leaked audio recordings.
While some portions of the recordings have been used by critics to further existing narratives, other clips — including her expression of disdain toward the “liberal media” — made the first lady appear more relatable to many Americans, as reported by Breitbart.
“They say I’m complicit”
The leaked audio was recorded by Melania Trump’s former staffer and friend, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff.
In one conversation captured in the secret recordings, the first lady indicated that she resented the hostile coverage she and her husband receive from many reporters, particularly in reaction to the administration’s controversial border policies.
“They say I’m complicit,” Mrs. Trump told Wolkoff, according to Breitbart. “I’m the same like him, I support him. I don’t say enough; I don’t do enough where I am.”
Melania Trump went on to assert that she works hard as first lady, going on to express apparent frustration regarding the scope of her largely ceremonial duties.
“Who gives a f*** about the Christmas stuff and decorations?” she asked, as Breitbart reported. “But I need to do it, right? Correct?”
“They are against us”
The first lady went on to discuss efforts to reunite parents with a migrant child at the border, complaining that the media would not “do the story” because “they are against us,” according to a report from Nexstar Media Wire. She went on to accuse the Obama administration of engaging in similar policies.
“OK, and then I do it and I say that I’m working on Christmas and planning for the Christmas, and they said, ‘Oh, what about the children that they were separated?’ Give me a f***ing break,” the first lady said, according to Breitbart. “Where were they saying anything when [former President Barack] Obama did that? I can not go, I was trying [to] get the kid reunited with the mom. I didn’t have a chance — [it] needs to go through the process and through the law.”
As for the media firestorm she created by wearing a jacket bearing the message “I really don’t care, do u?” during her trip to the border, Mrs. Trump revealed a clear motive.
“I’m driving liberals crazy, that’s for sure,” she said in the tapes, according to Breitbart. “And that, you know, that’s…they deserve it. You understand?”
While the leaked audio was undoubtedly released in an effort to paint the first lady in a negative light, the plan might have backfired among ordinary Americans with whom her remarks are likely to resonate.