Much like her husband, Melania Trump is perhaps the most maligned First Lady to carry the controversial title since Nancy Reagan. She has been criticized for everything from her shoes to her impeccable clothing. As well, Mrs.Trump went to court to force denigrators to walk back scurrilous names she was called in the toxic 2016 election cycle. Quite simply, it’s been a rough ride thus far for the First Lady.
First Lady Comes in Last
It’s worth noting that historically the term First Lady is more than a bit contentious. Jackie Kennedy was well-known for despising the moniker saying it sounded like the name of a racehorse. Historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., averred that the title First Lady was “deplorable” noting the president is not called the “First Gentleman.”
Of course, every first lady has had their share of public and media scrutiny. But it seems that finally someone has something decent to say about Mrs. Trump – and it is substantive and noteworthy. It seems that the new First Lady is spending less – a lot less – of the taxpayer’s money than her predecessor, Michelle Obama.
And doesn’t this somehow make sense?
According to a FOX News cost analysis of the two First Ladies’ spending habits, Melania “runs one of the leanest East Wing operations in recent history.”
Alex Pappas of FOX News wrote, “Both the Obama and Trump administrations acknowledged several additional staffers beyond those listed in the report with the term “first lady” in their titles. But even counting all those employees — 24 for Michelle Obama and nine for the current first lady — Melania Trump’s office is relatively small.” Is this just happenstance or by design? Here’s what the First Lady’s Communication Director told Pappas:
“As with all things that she does, she is being very deliberate in her hiring, focusing on quality over quantity,” communications director Stephanie Grisham said in an email. “It is important to her that the team is a good fit for what she wants to accomplish as first lady, and that everyone works well together. She also wants to be mindful and responsible when it comes to taxpayer money.”
The First Lady of the United States or FLOTUS is not a salaried position, but the rank does permit a budget for a variety of expenses including travel. Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch wrote extensively about Mrs. Obama’s travel, calling it, “lavish, extravagant, and excessive by any reasonable metric.” And every taxpayer knows that what FLOTUS spends comes out of their pocket. This is not a particularly winsome legacy for a First Lady.
The Millionaire Next Door
Perhaps Mrs. Trump is taking a cue from her husband or perhaps the lean East Wing budget is a result of not being a part of the elite political class. In many ways, her spending so far has resembled “The Millionaire Next Door” whose net worth is a direct result of pennywise money management. This is not to say that the First Lady is buying her clothes at Walmart, but she does seem to be careful with OPM (other people’s money).
Who would have guessed that a world-class model is a bit of a frugal fanny? And if Frugal Fanny were the name of a racehorse, the taxpayers of this country would surely be rooting for her to come in first place.