|First Lady of the United States|
January 20, 2017
|Preceded by||Michelle Obama|
April 26, 1970
Novo Mesto, SR Slovenia,
|Spouse(s)||Donald Trump (m. 2005)|
Melania Trump (born Melanija Knavs [mɛˈlaːnija ˈknaːu̯s], April 26, 1970; Germanized to Melania Knauss) is the First Lady of the United States, married to President Donald Trump. Born in Slovenia, then part of Yugoslavia, she became a permanent resident of the United States in 2001 and an American citizen in 2006. Prior to marrying Donald Trump, she worked as a model; by 2016 she considered herself a "full-time mom." Melania Trump is the second foreign-born First Lady of the United States, following Louisa Adams in 1825.
Melanija Knavs was born in Novo Mesto in the southeast of Slovenia, which was then part of Yugoslavia, on April 26, 1970. She is a daughter of Amalija (née Ulčnik) and Viktor Knavs, who managed car and motorcycle dealerships for a state-owned vehicle manufacturer. Her father was from the nearby town of Radeče. Her mother came from the village of Raka, and was a patternmaker at the children's clothing manufacturer "Jutranjka" in Sevnica. When later working as a model, she changed the Slovene form of her last name Knavs to the German Knauss.
She grew up in a modest apartment in a housing block in Sevnica, in Slovenia's Lower Sava Valley. She has a sister and an elder half-brother, whom she reportedly has never met, from her father's previous relationship.
When she was a teenager, the family moved to a two-story house in Sevnica, and as a high school student, she lived in a high-rise apartment in Ljubljana. Melanija attended the Secondary School of Design and Photography in Ljubljana, and studied at the University of Ljubljana for one year before dropping out. She declares speaking six languages: English, French, Italian, German, Serbo-Croatian, and her native Slovene.
Career and immigration to the United States
Trump began modeling at age 5 and started doing commercials at 16, when she posed for the Slovenian fashion photographer Stane Jerko. At 18, she signed with a modeling agency in Milan, Italy. She was named runner-up in the 1992 Jana Magazine "Look of the Year" contest, held in Ljubljana, which promised its top three contestants an international modeling contract.
After attending the University of Ljubljana for one year, she modeled for fashion houses in Milan and Paris. She then relocated to New York City in 1996, her contract and visa negotiated by Italian businessman Paolo Zampolli. Through her lawyer, she has indicated she first entered the United States on a business visitor visa in August 1996. She obtained an H-1B visa in October 1996. After that, she regularly returned to Slovenia to obtain a series of four more one-year work visas because, at the time, Slovenians could only obtain one-year visas in the United States. In November 2016, the Associated Press reported that she was paid $20,056 for 10 modeling jobs in the United States in 1996 before she had legal permission to work in the country. In response, her lawyer stated the documents on which Associated Press relied "have not been verified, [and] do not reflect our records including corresponding passport stamps."
Following her immigration to the United States, she appeared on the covers of Harper's Bazaar (Bulgaria), Ocean Drive, In Style Weddings, New York Magazine, Avenue, Allure, Vanity Fair (Italy), Vogue (following her marriage to Donald Trump), and GQ (UK). She was featured as a bikini model in the 2000 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. As a model, she was associated with Irene Marie Management Group and Donald Trump's Trump Model Management.
Marriage to Donald Trump
After moving to New York City in 1996, Melania met her future husband, Donald Trump at a Fashion Week party in New York City in September 1998. He and Marla Maples had separated in May 1997; divorce proceedings were finalized on June 8, 1999. Donald attended the event with another date, Celina Midelfart, and Melania initially refused to give Donald her phone number. Melania broke off the relationship shortly after it began, but the couple reconciled after a few months. Their relationship gained attention after a 1999 interview on The Howard Stern Show. In 2000, Melania appeared with Donald while he campaigned for that year's Reform Party presidential nomination. Their relationship gained additional publicity after the 2004 launch of Donald's business-oriented reality television show, The Apprentice. Donald described their long courtship in 2005: "We literally have never had an argument, forget about the word 'fight' ... We just are very compatible. We get along."
After becoming engaged in 2004, Donald and Melania were married in an Anglican service on January 22, 2005, at The Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea in Palm Beach, Florida, followed by a reception in the ballroom at Donald's Mar-a-Lago estate.
The event was attended by celebrities such as Katie Couric, Matt Lauer, Rudy Giuliani, Heidi Klum, Star Jones, P. Diddy, Shaquille O'Neal, Barbara Walters, Conrad Black, Regis Philbin, Simon Cowell, Kelly Ripa, then-Senator Hillary Clinton, and former president Bill Clinton. At the reception, Billy Joel serenaded the crowd with "Just the Way You Are" and supplied new lyrics about Donald to the tune of "The Lady Is a Tramp". The Trumps' wedding ceremony and reception were widely covered by the media. Melania wore a $200,000 dress made by John Galliano of the house of Christian Dior.
Role in 2016 U.S. presidential election
In November 2015, when asked about her husband's presidential campaign, Trump said: "I encouraged him because I know what he will do and what he can do for America. He loves the American people and he wants to help them." Trump played a relatively small role in her husband's campaign—atypical of spouses of presidential running mates.
In July 2016, Trump's official website was redirected to Trump.com. On Twitter, she stated that her site was outdated and did not "accurately reflect [her] current business and professional interests." This change came after it was widely noted by the media that the website had falsely claimed for more than 10 years that she had a degree in architecture and design from the University of Ljubljana. Her biography in the 2016 Republican National Convention official program also incorrectly stated that she had obtained a degree in Slovenia.
On July 18, 2016, Trump gave a speech at the 2016 Republican National Convention. The speech contained a paragraph that was nearly identical to a paragraph of Michelle Obama's speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. When asked about the speech, Trump said she wrote the speech herself "with as little help as possible". Two days later, Trump staff writer Meredith McIver took responsibility and apologized for the "confusion".
First Lady of the United States
Melania assumed the role of First Lady of the United States on January 20, 2017. She is the second foreign-born woman to hold the position (after Louisa Adams, wife of John Quincy Adams, who was born in 1775 in London to an American father and British mother). She is the first First Lady to be a naturalized (rather than birthright) citizen of the United States, the first to speak English as a second language, and the first to be fluent in more than two languages. At 5 feet 11 inches (1.80 m), she is also one of the tallest First Ladies to hold the office, tied with Michelle Obama and Eleanor Roosevelt. She is expected to continue living in Trump Tower with her son Barron at least until the end of the 2016-17 school year.
Her Secret Service code name is "Muse" (beginning with the same letter as Trump's code name, "Mogul", per Secret Service tradition).
When asked by The New York Times in 1999 what her role would be if Donald Trump were to become president, Melania replied: "I would be very traditional. Like Betty Ford or Jackie Kennedy." In 2016, she told CNN her focus as First Lady would be to help women and children. She also said she would combat cyberbullying, especially among children, having quit social media herself due to the "negativity".
Five days before the election, she told a crowd of supporters in Pennsylvania: "Our culture has gotten too mean and too rough, especially to children and teenagers. It is never OK when a 12-year-old girl or boy is mocked, bullied, or attacked. It is terrible when that happens on the playground. And it is absolutely unacceptable when it is done by someone with no name hiding on the internet." Regarding the contrast of her platform with her husband's pattern of Twitter attacks during his campaign, Melania said shortly after the election that she had rebuked him "all the time" but that "he will do what he wants to do in the end."
In February 2017, Trump sued Mail Media, the owner of The Daily Mail, seeking $150 million in damages over an August 2016 article which alleged that she had worked for an escort service during her modeling days. The Mail had already retracted the article and apologized. The lawsuit claimed the article had ruined her "unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" to establish "multimillion dollar business relationships for a multi-year term during which Plaintiff is one of the most photographed women in the world". Commentators said her claim raised ethical questions about potentially wishing to profit from her position as First Lady. On February 18, the lawsuit was amended, omitting the language about her earning potential and focusing instead on emotional distress.
The first White House event led by Trump was a luncheon for International Women's Day on March 8, 2017. Trump spoke to an audience of women about her life as a female immigrant, and about working towards gender equality both domestically and abroad, noting the role of education as a tool against gender inequality.
In March 2017, Slovenia honored her by introducing "First Lady" wine, a red wine produced in the region near her hometown of Sevnica.
- Jordan, Mary (September 30, 2015). "Meet Melania Trump, a New Model for First Lady". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 1, 2015.
- Otterbourg, Ken (August 27, 2016). "The mystery that is Melania Trump". The State. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
- "Why the presidential candidates' spouses are the most interesting ever". Newsweek. 2016-03-14. Retrieved 2017-03-02.
- Lauren Collins (May 9, 2016). "The Model American: Melania Trump is the exception to her husband's nativist politics". The New Yorker.
- "O Melaniji je prvi poročal Dolenjski list" [The First to Report about Melania was Dolenjski List]. Dolenjski list [Lower Carniola Newspaper] (in Slovenian). November 10, 2016.
- "Melania Trump Biography: Model (1970–)". Biography.com (FYI / A&E Networks). Retrieved November 22, 2016.
- Ioffe, Julia (April 27, 2016). "Melania Trump on Her Rise, Her Family Secrets, and Her True Political Views: "Nobody Will Ever Know"". GQ. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
- Greenhouse, Emily (August 17, 2015). "Vitamins & Caviar: Getting to Know Melania Trump". Bloomberg Politics. Retrieved September 4, 2015.
- "Tednik CELJAN". Celjan.si. Retrieved November 25, 2011.
- "Melania Trump: Slovenian Model Legend". April 13, 2016.
- "10 Things You Should Know About Melania Trump".
- Louise Dewast, A Glimpse of Melania Trump's Childhood in Slovenia, ABC News (March 7, 2016).
- Rapkin, Mickey (May 17, 2016). "Lady and the Trump". Du Jour. Retrieved August 28, 2016.
- A Crash Course on Ms.Trump, CBS News Retrieved October 11, 2016
- "Melania Trump's Past Took Her From A River Town In Slovenia To Trump Tower". The Huffington Post. February 12, 2016.
- Horowitz, Jason (July 18, 2016). "Melania Trump: From Small-Town Slovenia to Doorstep of White House". New York Times.
- Glenn Kessler & Michelle Ye Hee Lee, Fact-checking the second day of the 2016 Republican National Convention, Washington Post (June 19, 2016) ("the University of Ljubljana confirmed that Melania dropped out of college before obtaining a degree.").
- Lauren Collins (May 9, 2016). "The Model American: Melania Trump is the exception to her husband's nativist politics.". The New Yorker.
Her Web site states that she obtained a degree in architecture and design from the University of Ljubljana when in fact she dropped out in her first year.
- Joey Morona, Melania Trump didn't graduate from college as bio claims, reports say, Cleveland Plain Dealer (July 19, 2016) ("Her bio on her official website states she graduated with a degree in design and architecture from 'University in Slovenia.' It's a claim that's been repeated by the Melania campaign and the RNC itself, in the convention's official program.
- Yglesias, Matthew (July 18, 2016). "Melania Trump, explained". Vox. Retrieved August 11, 2016.
- "Melania Trump Juggles Motherhood, Marriage, and a Career Just Like Us". Parenting.com.
- "Stane Jerko – fotograf, ki je odkril Melanijo" [Stane Jerko, the Photographer Who Discovered Melania] (in Slovenian). April 24, 2016.
- Charles, Marissa (August 16, 2015). "Melania Trump would be a First Lady for the Ages". New York Post. Retrieved August 17, 2015.
- Collins, Lauren (May 9, 2016). "The Model American". The New Yorker. Retrieved May 2, 2016.
- Wilkie, Christina (July 19, 2016). "Melania Trump's Claims She Graduated From College Are About As Credible As Her Speech Last Night". The Huffington Post. Retrieved July 20, 2016.
- "AP: Melania Trump modeled in U.S. prior to getting work visa". CBS. Associated Press. November 5, 2016. Retrieved November 5, 2016.
- Caldwell, Alice A.; Day, Chad; Pearson, Jake. "Trump's wife modeled in U.S. prior to getting work visa". Washington Post. Retrieved November 5, 2016.
- "The Future First Lady? See Melania Trump's Nude Photo Shoot". British GQ. March 4, 2016 [originally published in January 2000]. Retrieved March 23, 2016.
- Holz, George. "Melania Knauss, FHM, December 1, 2000". Getty Images. Archived from the original on November 17, 2015. Retrieved November 17, 2015.
- "Melania Knauss". The FMD. Retrieved November 17, 2015.
- Lind, Dara (September 15, 2016). "How nude photos and bad fact checking created an immigration scandal for Melania Trump". Vox. Retrieved October 1, 2016.
- "Melania Knauss Biography". Star Pulse. Retrieved May 2, 2011.
- King, Larry (May 17, 2005). "Interview with Donald, Melania Trump". CNN. Retrieved September 4, 2015.
- Wadler, Joyce (December 2, 1999). "A Supermodel at the White House?". New Straits Times. Retrieved September 4, 2015.
- Donnelly, Shannon (January 23, 2005). "Donald Trump wedding: Vow wow". Palm Beach Daily News. Retrieved November 25, 2016.
The beauty of The Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea was unadorned, with only giant bows fashioned from orchids and white roses at the end of each pew and simple but elegant white arrangements on the candlelit altar. The bride walked down the aisle carrying only an ancient rosary not to Lohengrin or Wagner, but to a vocalist singing Ave Maria in an exquisite soprano voice. The Rev. Ralph R. Warren performed the traditional Episcopalian service at the landmark church, which was filled to capacity.
- Stoynoff, Natasha (January 23, 2005). "Donald Trump Weds Melania Knauss". People. Retrieved August 17, 2015.
- Gillin, Joshua (July 21, 2015). "The Clintons really did attend Donald Trump's 2005 wedding". Politifact (Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald). Retrieved August 21, 2015.
- http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2947368/ Retrieved December 11, 2016.
- Schneider, Karen S. (May 1, 2006). "Billion Dollar Baby: He Has Mom's Eyes, Dad's Lips, His Own Floor in Trump Tower and Doting Parents: Welcome to the World of Barron William Trump". People. Retrieved September 7, 2015.
- Effron, Lauren (November 20, 2015). "Why You Don't See Donald Trump's Wife Melania Out on the Campaign Trail". ABC News.
- Dickson, Rebecca (July 17, 2016). "Melania Trump anything but the typical candidate's wife".
- "After convention stumble, Melania Trump has largely vanished from campaign".
- "Melania Trump makes first solo campaign appearance in Philadelphia - News - DW.COM - 03.11.2016". www.dw.com. Deutsche Welle.
- Tynan, Dan (July 29, 2016). "Melania no more: why did Donald Trump take down his wife's website?". The Guardian. Retrieved August 28, 2016.
- Lawler, David (July 29, 2016). "Melania Trump's website disappears after questions raised about university degree claims". The Telegraph.
- O'Donnell, Katy (July 18, 2016). "RNC program flubs Melania Trump's biography". Politico. "The RNC refers to a college degree, but Melania left college after one year."
- Tumulty, Karen; Costa, Robert; Del Real, Jose (July 19, 2016). "Scrutiny of Melania Trump's speech follows plagiarism allegations". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 19, 2016.
- Bump, Philip (July 19, 2016). "Melania Trump's speech appears to have cribbed from Michelle Obama's in 2008". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 19, 2016.
- Haberman, Maggie; Rappeport, Alan; Healy, Patrick (July 19, 2016). "Melania Trump's Speech Bears Striking Similarities to Michelle Obama's in 2008". The New York Times. Retrieved July 19, 2016.
- Stump, Scott (July 19, 2016). "Melania Trump On Convention Speech: 'I Wrote It with as Little Help as Possible'". Today. Archived from the original on July 19, 2016. Retrieved August 11, 2016.
- Sullivan, Sean; Stanley-Becker, Issac (July 20, 2016). "Cruz Doesn't Endorse Trump in Convention Speech, Prompting Boos and Drama". Politics. The Washington Post. Retrieved August 4, 2016.
- Harris, Bill; Ross, Laura (March 4, 2009). The First Ladies Fact Book: Revised and Updated! The Childhoods, Courtships, Marriages, Campaigns, Accomplishments, and Legacies of Every First Lady from Martha Washington to Michelle Obama. Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers. ISBN 1579128092.
- "Louisa Adams - First Ladies". History.com. Retrieved November 19, 2016.
- "Melania to be 1st foreign-born First Lady since 1820s". The Hindu. November 9, 2016. Retrieved November 9, 2016.
- "US election: Trump children - who is the new first family?". BBC News. November 9, 2016. Retrieved November 9, 2016.
- Diamond, Jeremy (November 10, 2016). "America, meet your new first lady". CNN. Retrieved November 20, 2016.
- "Melania Trump Makes History As First Immigrant First Lady, Fluent In Five Languages". The Inquisitr News. Retrieved January 23, 2017.
- "8 Causes Our New First Lady, Melania Trump, Should Consider Taking Up". Marie Claire. November 11, 2016. Retrieved January 23, 2017.
- "A crash course on Melania Trump". CBS News.
- "Melania, Barron Trump to remain in NYC until end of school year". Fox News. November 20, 2016. Retrieved November 29, 2016.
- Andrews-Dyer, Helena (November 20, 2016). "Donald Trump confirms that wife Melania and son Barron will stay in New York after the presidential inauguration". The Washington Post.
- Watkins, Eli (November 26, 2016). "Here are the Secret Service code names for Trump, Pence". CNN. Retrieved 18 March 2017.
- "Melania Trump: Ending social media bullying would be focus as first lady". CNN. November 4, 2016. Retrieved November 11, 2016.
- "Read Melania Trump's Campaign Speech Addressing Cyberbullying". Time. November 3, 2016. Retrieved November 11, 2016.
- "Melania Trump rebukes her husband "all the time" for Twitter use". Retrieved November 14, 2016.
- "Melania Trump: A retraction". Daily Mail. September 1, 2016. Retrieved 18 March 2017.
- Puente, Maria (February 7, 2017). "Melanie Trump's 'Daily Mail' Lawsuit: A FLOTUS First?". USA Today. Retrieved 10 February 2017.
- Reid, Paula (February 7, 2017). "Melania Trump libel suit settled, another filed". CBS News. Retrieved 10 February 2017.
- Bennett, Kate (February 22, 2017). "Melania Trump drops controversial language from $150 million defamation suit". CNN. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
- CNN, Betsy Klein and Kate Bennett. "First lady touts equality at International Women's Day luncheon". CNN. Retrieved 2017-03-10.
- "First Lady Melania Trump Hosts a Luncheon for International Women's Day". Cosmopolitan. 2017-03-09. Retrieved 2017-03-10.
- "Melania Trump 'recalls her immigrant past' as she pushes for equality on International Women's Day". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2017-03-10.
- "Melania Trump Honored With 'First Lady'-Branded Wines and Salami", Cosmopolitan, March 15, 2017
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Melania Trump|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Melania Trump.|
- White House website
- Official website (archived March 1, 2012)
- Melania Trump at the Fashion Model Directory
- Melania Trump at the Internet Movie Database
- Appearances on C-SPAN
|First Lady of the United States