Melania’s Strained Face

There’s a media photo of Melania Trump on a balcony with Trump and the president of Finland and his wife. I saw the photo on my Monday New York Times briefing, if that helps you locate it — can’t repost here because of copyright. Melanie looks like a hostage. The First Lady of Finland, Jenni Haukio, is standing next to Melania and has an animated expression. The Finnish president is gesturing, as if making a point. Trump is standing in his usual belligerent pose.

But Melania…

Have we ever had such an unhappy First Lady? For those of us of a certain age, the strained face of Pat Nixon invites comparison. But Pat only looked that way consistently at the end, when her husband was going down for his Watergate involvement.

I’ve said before that I have little sympathy for Melania, a B-roll model with an expiring U.S. visa who made a deal to stay in this country and got The Donald and a gilded life in return for her tolerance of a cruel and unfaithful narcissist. And now she’s First Lady, a position she didn’t seek and seems not to want.

We all get caught, on occasion, with odd expressions on camera. But this Melania face is unmistakable. Her body language and her face signal only one thing: sheer misery at the bargain she made.

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