In her first months as first lady, Melania Trump was rarely seen in public. Soon after her husband’s inauguration, she returned to their Trump Tower penthouse in New York for nearly six months, tending to her young son, Barron, while slowly hiring a small staff to help her run her White House office.
For a while, it appeared that she would be as publicly disengaged from her husband’s administration as she had been from his campaign, when she gave few speeches and rarely traveled to his events. There was grumbling around Washington: Could the White House function well without the president’s spouse on site? Would she make any use of the platform that comes with her title?
In her first year, she sidestepped advocacy but used images to make her presence known.