CONSIDER THE SYMBOLISM: America’s First Lady, Melania Trump, visits the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC while her husband junkets in Davos, Switzerland, among the corporate and political elites he has long disparaged.
The ultimate trophy wife stays home, foregoing an appearance on the international stage to visit, instead, a museum with a message of tolerance and engagement to prevent bigotry and its physical consequences.
Now consider the humiliation Melania has suffered within the last month. According to Fire and Fury, Michael Wolff’s tell-all about the first hundred days of the Trump Administration, she was replaced in the presidential bed by a cheeseburger. Even more ghastly, the revelation that the Philanderer-in-Chief not only cheated on their marriage but did so within weeks of Melania delivering to him a child. Will she ever again be able to look upon their son Barron without visualizing Trump in his tighty-whities chasing porn star Stormy Daniels around a hotel bed, or being spanked with a rolled up copy of Forbes magazine whose cover picture featured Trump, Donald Jr. and Ivanka?
For those seeking the salacious details, here are the appropriate links: In Touch Weekly ran this tell-all; the Daily Beast told the tale of the chase ; and Mother Jones joyously added the spanking episode
More symbolism: Melania visits the Holocaust Museum on the day Trump advanced a program to restrict immigrant entry into the United States, the kind of door slammed shut in the faces of hundreds of thousands of Jews trapped in Nazi Germany and its occupied territories three-quarters of a century ago.
Her visit was to a memorial dedicated to victims who were denied their humanity even as she suffered indignity and humiliation heaped on her by her husband.
Consider a visit to an edifice dedicated to the tragic consequences of denying safe refuge to people persecuted for their religion even as the supposed Leader of the Free World’ disparages Islam and seeks to deny its adherents the opportunity to seek safety and freedom in America.
Consider the history of American inaction and indifference 90, 80, even 70 years ago as refugees seeking shelter were turned away because of racist, bigoted immigration laws — even as Trump seeks to close America’s doors during the worst-ever global displaced persons crisis.
Consider visiting a museum dedicated to the tragic aftermath of American xenophobia and isolationism — a failure to maintain U.S. global leadership that allowed despots to march unchallenged across continents — while Trump and his narrow-minded acolytes reject evidence of Russian interference in US and foreign democratic elections, even as right wing movements at home and abroad are given succour and retweets by a base and egotistical president with no appreciation of historical context.
One wonders whether Donald Trump has visited the US Holocaust Museum, not just for a fly-by tour as he did at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem last year but to study in depth the disastrous effects of prejudice coupled with an ultra-nationalist credo. Saturday was International Holocaust Remembrance Day. What message were we to expect?
Melania has taken more than her fair share of jabs from late night comedians, some justified, some not. Consider many of the (cruel) comments as collateral damage for signing onto the macabre display of Trump’s presidential campaign and time in office.
She is now seen as the cuckquean of an inveterate womanizer, a man we have come to learn has the temperament and attention span of a child. She has become the object of our pity.
No matter how many millions or billions Melania might be entitled to, we all wonder: is it worth the price she pays?