Kadalie: Peggy Noonan Falls for Michelle Obama’s Self-Promotion in Dismissing Melania Trump

Former United States first lady Michelle Obama greets the audience during the AIA Conference on Architecture 2017 on April 27, 2017 in Orlando, Florida. Michelle Obama is making one of her first public speeches at the Orlando Conference since leaving the White House. (Photo by Gerardo Mora/Getty Images)
Gerardo Mora/Getty Images

Peggy Noonan’s intense dislike for President Donald Trump undermines her credibility as a fair and balanced columnist: She cannot be true to her trade when she hates the objects of her pen.

With the Trumps, she has lost all sense of balance. Her unwarranted attack on First Lady Melania Trump last weekend in the Wall Street Journal is plain ugly.

In a column titled “Melania’s Misstep and Michelle’s Mystery,” Noonan declares her love for former first lady Michelle Obama after reading her memoir, Becoming. Noonan should know by now that every auto-biographer blows his/her own trumpet. Lest we forget, Barack Obama sold millions of copies of Dreams from my Father to the curious who wondered from whence this bombastic community organiser had suddenly appeared. It was David Maraniss’ book Barack Obama: The Story that exposed the former president, warts and all, including exposing several lies in Dreams — even though Maraniss clearly admired Obama.

There was nothing mysterious about Michelle Obama. She was as showy as her husband, parading her false modesty. She was famous for her scowls, her self-righteousness once again on display last week when she told Oprah Winfrey that it was the Obama family who made the White House special. In fact, at the time, she reportedly said living in the White House was “hell.”

Noonan conveniently overlooks Mrs. Obama’s spats with senior White House staffers, including former press secretary Robert Gibbs, where the “F” word flowed freely between Gibbs, Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, and the first lady.

To cite Amy Willis in The Telegraph (10 Jan 2012):

She may appear a charming, fashionable and diplomatic First Lady, steadfastly supporting her husband’s administration with a series of uncontroversial initiatives.

But while the White House machine likes to portray images of Michelle Obama tending her organic vegetable garden, or visiting the families of servicemen posted overseas, behind the scenes she has repeatedly clashed with the president’s top aides – with rows over everything from tactics on health care reform to her taste in designer clothes.

According to a much-anticipated new book, Barack Obama’s White House was plagued by feuds as his wife fought a pitched battle for what she perceived as the heart and soul of his presidency against his more pragmatic advisers in aftermath of the 2008 election – and in part succeeded.

In The Obamas, writer Jodi Kantor, a respected New York Times reporter, draws on interviews with 33 current and former White House insiders to depict an administration riven by in-fighting during its first two years.

Mrs Obama did not spare her husband from withering criticism and their marriage, although loving, suffered under the strains, Ms Kantor writes.

Then there was the famous fight with Desiree Rogers, the ill-fated White House social secretary, who unwittingly let in an uninvited couple to a state dinner. Known for her extravagant lifestyle at the time of a deep recession, Rogers was advised by David Axelrod that the Obamas were no longer pleased with her performance despite having organized many splendid events for them.

Michelle Obama is the wife of the first African American President. Despite her Ivy League education, that historical status alone puts her on a pedestal, in this politically correct milieu, that Melania Trump cannot hope to attain.

Firstly, the latter is European, a fashion model, and a non-native English speaker. Secondly, she is married to Donald Trump, whom it is fashionable to hate.

Haute Couture designers had a field day dressing Michelle Obama, and many rudely vowed that they wouldn’t “dress” Melania. Yet with every event, whether in the garden, Air Force One, or the Champs Elysées, she looks like a million dollars.

God alone knows why designers would reject dressing someone as beautiful and statuesque as Melania. Her supermodel features, professional demeanor, and fashion sense catapult her into a class of her own. If she were not married to Trump she would be on the cover of every magazine.

So Melania Trump, who has thus far managed the White House with aplomb, using a smaller staff at half the cost of her predecessor, is suddenly Noonan’s persona non grata because she happened to fire a staffer and made it public.

By now, Noonan should know the reason Melania would make a firing public. It was a way of pre-empting the fake news” media that predictably inflated this non-event up out of all proportion.

To slam Melania on for firing a staffer is not news, and does not warrant an entire column of nastiness towards the first lady that simultaneously while glorifies Michelle Obama on the basis of a book in which she reinvents herself. In many ways Michelle’s behavior was often unbecoming, especially when she admitted that had never been proud of her country except until her husband was winning the Democratic presidential primary in 2008.

Noonan, in dissing the first lady so flippantly, says more about her own prejudices than about the wonderfully mysterious Melania Trump.


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