As anyone with a working ear and a pair of eyes knows, the Trump White House has not been having a good week — or month. Some might say his entire term has heretofore been haunted by missteps, embarrassing tweets and the ever-present specter of scandal.
Though the stock market seems to be cruising and the jobs numbers have been decent, it’s pretty hard to turn away from other serious problems. The repeal and replace of Obamacare? A disaster-in-the-making. Tax reform? Still waiting. And that Russian whatever-you-want-to-call-it? Headlines have crept ever closer to the new president’s circle of trust.
There is, however, a sliver of good news that our deal-maker prez has failed to highlight. Just a few days ago, Fox News published a poll that showed Melania Trump’s approval ratings climbing by 14 points, to 51 percent. This is particularly noteworthy because her husband’s popularity has been heading in the inverse direction. A different poll, from ABC News/Washington Post, shows the president has a 36 percent approval rating, the lowest six-month rating of any president in the past 70 years.
Apparently as the first lady settles into her new role, more voters seem to like what they see. In contrast, back in August 2016, 35 percent of Americans viewed her favorably, but 40 percent marked her unfavorably. For me, the feat is that more impressive because of the current political climate. Melania has managed to win over voters across ages, gender and party affiliation. Here are the increases in percentage points: Democrats +12, Republicans +24, men +17, women +15, voters under 45 +18, and voters 45 and over +16. While Republicans are more than three times more enthusiastic about her than Democrats, 43 percent of independents like her.
Whatever she’s doing seems to be working, and our embattled president should take note. It seems that for every one of his foot-in-the-mouth moments, Melania counters with a somewhat regal appearance at a hospital.
Whatever she’s doing seems to be working, and our embattled president should take note. It seems that for every one of his foot-in-the-mouth moments, Melania counters with a somewhat regal appearance at a hospital. She even seems to have overcome early criticism about her reluctance to move to Washington and her debut speech at the Republican convention, which cribbed lines from Michelle Obama.
In a larger context, the Fox poll underscores, once again, what I have long known: A wife can be an invaluable asset. Her power to influence and steer both husband and children shouldn’t be underestimated. (It’s a principle I hope I’ve inculcated in my sons.) A wife is the guiding light of a household and the niggling voice of a conscience. She is social secretary, accountant, general contractor, mental health specialist and mediator supreme. Little wonder the Bible’s Proverbs is filled with wise words about her position, my favorite being: A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.
The role of wife has evolved, as it well should. And you don’t need the perch of public power to exert authority. Many an ordinary wife has emerged from the shadows to become the breadwinner, the policymaker, the activist, the public face of a family business.
Like all husbands, President Donald Trump could learn a thing or two — actually many — from the woman who had a successful career as a model before she accepted the job of Mrs.
Here are my suggestions:
▪ Follow the example of @FLOTUS’s Twitter account. Tweet sparingly, and be gracious. Or, at the very least, act presidential.
▪ Engage the brain before the mouth.
▪ Work to improve your English. (It’s Melania’s second language, as it is mine.) American voters actually can understand much more than declarative sentences and third-grade vocabulary.
▪ Show compassion. Stop lying. And quit the bragging. It’s hilarious, but in all the wrong ways.
▪ And when in public, at least pretend you value the first lady. Don’t walk ahead of her. Don’t ignore her.
Remember that she’s worth far more than rubies.