First Lady Melania Trump has won rave reviews from the foreign press — and even the American press — as she accompanies President Donald Trump on his first foreign trip.
The visit, which has taken President Trump to Saudi Arabia and Israel thus far, and which will conclude with a stop at the Vatican on Tuesday, is the first foreign trip of the administration. It is also one of the first major public events for the First Lady, who has kept a low profile thus far.
Yet she made her mark immediately in Saudi Arabia, descending Air Force One in a flowing black pantsuit and golden belt that was hailed by the local press as “classy and conservative,” even though both she and Ivanka Trump declined to cover their faces in deference to local custom.
The Los Angeles Times noted Melania Trump’s “newsmaking style,” quoting a local television host who described her outfit as a “a really considerate gesture.”
Even the British press was impressed, gushing later in the day: “Melania Trump dazzles in purple Reem Acra gown for first evening in Saudi Arabia.”
She also impressed observers in Israel with her choice of outfit: a crisp white jacket and skirt, in deference to the main color in the Israeli flag, as well as to the color of peace.
More than her sartorial savvy, however, what was most impressive was the First Lady’s gesture of holding the hand of Israel’s First Lady, Nechama Rivlin, who carries an oxygen tank due to a respiratory illness. The image of the tall Mrs. Trump guiding the congenial but frail Mrs. Rivlin (above) went beyond normal diplomatic protocol and presented an image of kindness.
At the Western Wall, Mrs. Trump acknowledged the Orthodox Jewish custom of separating the sexes during prayer by visiting the women’s side of the plaza. However, as in Saudi Arabia, she kept her hair uncovered (though Jewish women are not required to cover their hair during prayer, or before marriage).
She also visited the Hadassah Medical Center Ein Kerem later in the day with Sara Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister’s wife. The hospital treats both Jews and Arabs, and features both Jewish and Arab staff.
The First Lady will be moving from New York to Washington, D.C. shortly, after the president’s youngest son, Barron Trump, completes his school year.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.
This post has been updated.