Politics - News Analysis
Friends Wonder Whether Melania Trump Will Auction Off and Sell Her ‘I Don’t Care’ Jacket
During her term as the first lady, Melania Trump did things that were pretty unconventional — declining to campaign for her husband Donald Trump and rarely speaking in public, and sometimes expressing views that opposed her husband’s. But now, she’s doing something that’s definitely unconventional for a first lady — autographing and auctioning a hat and two other items for an opening bid of $250,000.
But she’s not doing it for lofty goals, like say, by donating money to fight climate change or saving endangered species. Nope. Like a typical Trump, she’s doing this for personal gain, CNN reports.
This odd move on her part is of course puzzling some of her friends and bringing in the criticism.
“(Selling her hat) lends credence to the notion that the Trumps were always shameless about making money and that Melania keeps proving that she is a Trump through and through,” said Kate Andersen Brower, a contributor to CNN and author of the book First Women: The Grace And Power Of America’s Modern First Ladies.
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CNN interviewed several people who all seemed to be of the opinion that Melania is doing this for personal gain, sacrificing tradition and respect for her role as a former first lady.
Trump is auctioning the wide-brimmed crepe hat she wore for an April 2018 state visit with French President Emanuel Macron at the White House. That hat was created by Trump’s personal stylist Hervé Pierre. Along with the hat, Melania is including a watercolor of her face in profile, wearing the hat. Her website is calling this the “Head of State Collection.” It also includes a non-fungible token (NFT) of the watercolor that includes animation.
I’ve written before about Melania’s venture into this new domain, but it’s very clear profit is really her only motive. According to her website, the NFT closes on January 25.
Some of her friends are really scratching their heads over this. Some are even wondering if that tacky jacket she infamously wore to an official white house event might also be an item she’s selling.
“What’s next? The jacket?” said one formerly close Trump friend, who spoke on condition of anonymity so as to not receive retribution. That person was of course, referring to the infamous “I don’t really care do U?” jacket on a trip to a Texas migrant detention center in June 2018. The center was holding families who had entered the U.S.
“It is not okay,” said one person who held a senior position in the Trump administration. “It’s unseemly. She is trying to build herself a nest-egg of cash built upon a role that the American people elected her husband for her to inhabit.”
Another person who had been a friend of Melania’s for many years before and during her time at the White House hesitated to criticize her but had to question why Melania has not clearly stated whether the bulk of the proceeds will go to charity and not directly into her purse.
“If she is going to do this, sell her personal things, she has to publicly disclose the financials,” the source, who no longer maintains ties with the former first lady said.
One small paragraph on the page of her website mentions she has intentions to donate some of the profits to charity.
“A portion of the proceeds derived from this auction will provide foster care children with access to computer science and technology education.”
CNN has tried, however, to pin down Trump’s office on this, seeking clarity on this regarding the size of the portion and exactly who the beneficiaries will be. Unsurprisingly, the network has never received a response.
Remember, Melania is a Trump, after all.