Melania Trump Preparing for Larger Role in 2020 Campaign

President Donald Trump, accompanied by a waving first lady Melania Trump, walks on the South Lawn as they depart the White House, Friday, Jan. 31, 2020, in Washington. Trump is en route to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Alex Brandon/AP Photo

A CNN report suggests that first lady Melania Trump is shifting into a more public position in support of her husband’s campaign.

During the first three years of President Donald Trump’s White House tenure, Melania Trump has largely eschewed the high-energy rallies and social media furor on which her husband thrives. And while she has taken time to reach out to Americans through her #BeBest initiative and other more intimate community efforts, most news focuses on more of what is said about her, than what she has said for herself.

But all that may be about to change.

The office of the first lady has not publicly confirmed the scheduling, but Melania Trump is headlining invitations to a March 18 fundraiser in Beverly Hills and a March 25 event at the president’s Mar-a-Lago club. Both are fundraisers benefiting “Trump Victory,” a joint account between the official Trump 2020 campaign and the Republican National Committee.

“First lady Melania Trump is a sought-after voice from the first family, who has the overwhelming approval and admiration of the American people,” Trump Campaign National Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told CNN.

“First ladies can humanize their husbands, that’s what Laura Bush and Michelle Obama did well,” added CNN contributor Kate Andersen Brower. “They can poke fun at their husbands and bring them down to earth, both behind closed doors and for voters.”

“Trump fans already like her and will respond positively,” said Katherine Jellison, professor of history at Ohio University, though she remains skeptical of Melania Trump’s broader appeal. She continued:

She will probably be most effective in talking to voters who already also like her husband, and not those who are on the fence, or are skeptical about him as a candidate for reelection. I don’t think she has crossover appeal for people who aren’t already in the Trump camp.

Still, Jellison — dubbed an “expert on first ladies” by the CNN report — thinks the FLOTUS may have a little more fight in her than people give her credit for. “In 2016, it was a long-shot campaign, and expectations were low,” she said. “But now they are playing for history. We know Donald Trump doesn’t like to lose, and I think the same may apply to Melania.”

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