First Lady Melania Trump has faced more skepticism in the past 13 months of the Trump Administration than arguably any other FLOTUS in presidential history.
As history would have it, the adoration of a first lady tends to weigh on the popularity of her husband. Melania Trump undoubtedly poses little exception to this custom. However, unlike those that precede her, the media has breached an all time high through television, newsprints, on-air broadcast networks, and social platforms. While most first ladies have lived in the shadows of their husbands' successes and failures, there have also been subliminal yet significant acts of blatant disrespect against the current president and first lady that remain overlooked. For example, Ellen DeGeneres' declination to invite Melania as a guest star on her show before planning to celebrate her 60th birthday with former first lady, Michelle Obama.
In addition, many continue to slight the first lady for her lack of contribution within the first five months of her husband's career as president. Although few are able to recognize Melania's first, and perhaps most influential act as mother and FLOTUS which signified a devotion to her family. Choosing to remain in New York with their eleven-year-old son, Barron, Melania saw to it that the president's youngest son would be able to complete the remainder of the school year at Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School before joining her husband in Washington D.C. in June.
Upon her arrival to the White House, Melania has since thrown herself into countless community involvements that appear to line well with her experience and passion for children.
According to the Office of the First Lady, Melania Trump is the recipient of numerous recognitions for her philanthropic work including: Goodwill Ambassador of The American Red Cross, Chairwoman of The American Heart Association, Five-year Honorary Chairwoman for The Boy's Club of New York, and an invitation to ring the closing bell for Love Our Children USA and NASDAQ's 2008 Fifth Annual National Love Our Children Day and National Child Abuse Prevention Month.
Since her husband's appointment into office, Melania has devoted her time to helping children overcome hunger, fight chronic diseases, and pursue an education. "Nothing could be more urgent or worthy a cause than preparing future generations for adulthood with true moral clarity and responsibility" she stated at the U.N. luncheon on September 20.
Following this formal declaration of her plans as first lady, Melania worked alongside the Department of Education to reach out to notable academic institutions that have achieved State and National awards and Blue Ribbon Awards throughout the country. In honor of National Read a Book Day, packages containing 10 Dr. Seuss books were sent to a school in each state.
On November 27, she invited young students from Prince George's County's Joint Base Andrews, to be the first White House guests to enjoy the day's holiday festivities. This included sitting down with the children to decorate Christmas cards and write letters for troops who would be unable to come home for the holidays.
Melania Trump visited Joint Base Anacostia–Bolling in Washington, D.C. in early December to volunteer for the Toys For Tots. Working among the other volunteers serving that day, Melania helped pack and organize donated toys to be shipped to underprivileged children for Christmas.
The first lady visited young patients at the National Children's Medical Center bearing gifts and read them stories over the holidays. In addition, she spent Valentine's Day decorating cards and cookies with child patients at the National Institutes of Health's Children's Inn.
However, Melania's efforts have far surpassed this one concern of our nation. She has accompanied the president on several international trips putting her multilingualism to great use. Her ability to speak and translate French, Italian, German, Slovenian, and Servo-Croatian in addition to English have contributed to the president and first ladies' acceptance in several countries which find it hospitable for visitors to speak in their tongue.
Finally, the first lady has also traveled across the nation following the many natural disasters that occurred earlier last year including Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Maria, and Hurricane Irma. Visiting numerous disaster relief centers to volunteer and help those left injured and homeless, Melania helped to distribute food, clothing, and other essentials to victims.
While Melania's work has been short-sided by the mainstream media in favor of articles and broadcasts undermining her efforts or showing no recognition at all, her perseverance and dedication to her country's people is undeniable. Shedding light to her work should illustrate precisely all that she has accomplished in little over a year. It is important to keep in mind that the first ladies of the present are working under a title that up until recently, meant little more than being married to and bearing the children of a national leader. Melania, as well as many recent first ladies have far exceeded societal expectations while also filling the role as a mother. In contrast to politics, the role of the FLOTUS is not a competition and can not be won. It is a role solely achieved through the strength and devotion of a family or individual supporting their spouse's ambitions while simultaneously attempting to maintain as normal a lifestyle as they can create for their children.