First lady Melania Trump.
If that prospect evokes no image, that’s no accident.
Donald Trump’s wife has said little in the campaign about the type of first lady she would be should her husband win the Republican nomination and the presidency.
The silence is intentional, so she can focus on the couple’s nine-year-old son, Barron.
But should Trump become the Republican candidate, the Slovenian-born model would face big decisions about her family, her life and her position in American history.
The presidential voting starts when Iowans caucus on February 1.
For now, Melania is her husband’s top supporter, a striking brunette swathed in couture, frequently seen, but seldom heard.
Her first campaign turn came in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, in November, as the candidate called his family on stage.
Turning to Melania, his third wife, Trump asked if she’d like to say something.
She stepped to the microphone and cocked a manicured thumb over an elegant shoulder.
“Isn’t he the best?” Mrs Trump, 45, asked the crowd in heavily accented English.
“He will be the best president ever. We love you!”
Like her husband, she is not given to understatement.
As his supporters roared, Donald Trump gave her a kiss and could be heard saying: “Thank you, honey. Very nice.”
It was the barest of glimpses into the life of a couple who celebrated their 11th wedding anniversary last Friday.
Their relationship began six years earlier, in 1998, at a party in Manhattan when the newly separated Trump asked then-model Melania Knauss, 24 years his junior, for her telephone number.
She rebuffed him, because he was with a date that night, she has said.
By the next year, they were a couple.
Trump was seeking the Reform Party nomination in the 2000 presidential election.
His girlfriend was asked how she viewed herself, if ever she became first lady.
“I would be very traditional,” she told The New York Times.
“Like Betty Ford or Jackie Kennedy.”
Would she now stay as far above the political fray as the couple’s triplex overlooking Central Park?
That’s largely up to the Trumps, but they’re in no hurry to decide.
Melania Trump would be a first in American history: She’d be the only first lady who is the third wife of a president, and the first to be born and raised in a communist nation, according to Carl Anthony, historian at the National First Ladies’ Library.
She has shown more skin than any other U.S. first lady — that was her in 2006, very pregnant, in a gold bikini on the steps of her husband’s private jet in Vogue magazine.
She wouldn’t be the first president’s wife to be born in another country — that would be Louisa Adams, born in England.
Nor would she be the first first lady to have married a divorced man — Nancy Reagan married Ronald.
And she’d be the third first lady to have worked as a professional model, after Pat Nixon and Betty Ford.
Experts on first ladies said Melania Trump is being smart by laying low now, especially if she is not comfortable talking about politics and policy.
But, eventually, they said, she’d be wise to build on what she knows.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved