Thoughts On Saturday - FLOTUS Melania TrumpPOTUS and FLOTUS are acronyms that until recently I had not heard of. We have heard a bit too much about POTUS (President Of The United States) but what about FLOTUS? First Lady Of The United States. My interest was aroused when I read on social media that White House tours have not restarted after the inauguration of President Trump. It was explained that this is due to the First Lady, Melania Trump, not appointing the household staff.
I was taken aback. I know Melania has decided to stay in New York for six months while her son finishes school but surely she could just pay someone to do this. They are not short of money. Maybe she didn't know that was her role. It seems strange that she is expected to do this when the role doesn't attract a salary. Then I wondered how true this was. Is this more fake news?
Is the FLOTUS really expected to do this? Possibly the roles are written down and Melania is ignoring them. Maybe she doesn't care very much about it all and that's why she is staying in New York.
Whilst researching this I came across more information about the First Lady. The role is unpaid, it is usually the spouse of The President but has also been taken by relatives of widowed or unmarried presidents. Chelsea Clinton took the role while her mother, Hillary Clinton, was campaigning to become a senator.
The role has changed over the years from being the hostess of the White House, organising events and entertaining guests to having an office in the East Wing with their own staff and becoming involved in their own campaigns. From Dolley Maddison assisting orphans and women to Michelle Obama and education.
Like all women in the public eye, first ladies have been noted for their fashion but are not given a budget for their clothes. They have to buy their own. In fact some first ladies, Jackie Kennedy for one, got so much into debt they needed help from family to pay for their wardrobe.
If they are lucky outfits worn for special occasions, state visits for example, are donated by designers. Not as a personal gift but as a gift to the US government and are then stored by the National Archives.
I was also surprised to read that the President pays for all meals and beverages consumed by his family and guests. He also pays for day to day items like toothpaste. I don't know why this was such a surprise, I just thought it would all be there and the government would pay. It surprised Nancy Reagan too. For many presidents this wasn't a problem at all. The salary of the President is about $400.000 per year and three presidents have given this up JF Kennedy, Herbert Hoover and Donald Trump. They are all very rich men anyway, to even start a campaign to be president takes millions.
I digress, back to the closing of the White House for tours. Melania has tweeted that tours will commence on 7th March but why was this news worthy? Women are still given stereotyped tasks such as running the household and looking good in todays outfit.
Managing the household of the White House may have been appropriate 100 years ago when that was the major role of women but today she should be allowed to stay in New York and not get so involved if she chooses. It is a shame that Hillary didn't get elected if only to see how the role of First Gentleman was in comparison. Would we be discussing Bill Clintons household skills, or his dress sense? Would he, like Hillary, move his office from the East Wing to the West Wing and be deeply involved in all things political? Maybe he would be like Melania and sit in the shadows counting the days until the next election.
Every time I see a picture of Melania I always think she looks totally bored and not at all happy. There have been recent reports of Melania being miserable supposedly coming from a family source. I suppose you can't choose family but if it's true they would be better keeping quiet and giving her some support.