Melania Trump was briefly spotted last week leaving famed hairstylist Frederic Fekkai’s salon in Manhattan with an immaculate hair dryer.
That was just days after FBI agents raided the Trumps’ lavish Mara Lago home in Palm Beach, Fla. (dubbed the “White Winter House” during his presidency) looking for classified documents, allegedly closing Melania’s underwear drawer in the process rummage through .
But if the former first lady, 52, felt anger or emotion at the raid on her home, as usual, she didn’t show it.
She simply glided to a limousine, surrounded by Secret Service agents, and was escorted back to the three-story penthouse she shares with her 76-year-old husband and 16-year-old son Barron in New York’s gleaming Trump Tower.
The former first lady has been quietly rebuilding her life away from the spotlight. Pictured: Melania and Donald Trump in July 2020
It’s a familiar routine now.
While many speculated that Melania would leave her husband of 17 years once Marine One, the president’s helicopter, left the front yard of the White House at the chaotic end of his term, that hasn’t turned out to be the case.
Instead, the former first lady has been quietly rebuilding her life away from the spotlight.
To longtime friend and socialite Toni Holt Kramer, Melania’s composure comes as no surprise.
“I get angry every time I read fake stories about her and Donald getting divorced and living separate lives,” she told the Mail on Sunday.
“I have known Donald since 2010 when my husband and I joined the club in Mar-a-Lago. A short time later I met Melania.
“Since then I’ve been to more parties with them than I can count: birthdays for Barron. Thanksgiving. Grilling.
“The Melania I know is sweet, kind, natural, classy and puts her family above all else. She gets a bad rap all the time because people love to hate the Trumps.
When asked if she would like to continue serving as first lady, Melania characteristically enigmatically replied, “Never say never.” Pictured: Melania at the traditional “pardon” of a presidential Turkey in 2020
“Who can blame her for trying to keep a low profile in public? She wasn’t hiding. I saw her at the spa. You and Donald are always at the restaurants in Mar-a-Lago.”
While her focus is on family and charities that interest her, Melania set up a website earlier this year to raise money for children’s charities, selling digital artwork for $150 each, including a close-up portrait of her eyes and a picture in sepia of her face.
In May, she made a rare public appearance at Place of Hope, a Palm Beach foster care agency.
Friends say she lives mostly in the 3,500-square-foot private residence in Mar-a-Lago, which is also an exclusive private club that offers vetted members the opportunity to join for a one-time fee of $250,000 with an annual fee of $16,000 .
She swims laps in the Olympic-sized pool, plays tennis three times a week on the private courts, throws parties in the ballroom, and indulges in facials and massages at the spa.
Perhaps most importantly, Mar-a-Lago is a fortress in an America so politically divided that many fear is on the brink of civil war.
It has a 50-foot watchtower and an army of private armed security guards to supplement the Trump family’s intelligence protection afforded to all past presidents.
Ms. Holt Kramer says: “Ms. Trump has never hidden the fact that she considers being a wife and mother to be her greatest achievement. Maybe that’s why they attack so many people? I guess that’s out of fashion.”
Contrary to all the intense speculation — fueled mostly by Trump’s enemies as he ponders whether to run for president again in the 2024 election — Donald and Melania are not only very close, but she seems increasingly in power to be behind the throne.
If it’s Donald Trump’s oversized persona and magnetic media presence that draws millions of supporters – and campaign funds – from America’s vast interior, it’s Melania’s polished elegance and carefully executed role as a traditional wife that has done so much to attract Republican women keep the crease.
And Trump knows it well. Ms Holt Kramer says she watched the couple on the candlelit terrace in Mar-a-Lago earlier this year, and for two hours she told The Mail on Sunday: “Donald hung on his wife’s every word”.
For her part, Melania seemed “not to notice anything else.”
“He absolutely trusts her judgment in everything.” Another source said that as “Mrs Trump” she has a lot of power. “Conservative women admire her as the perfect wife.
Many speculated that Melania would leave her husband of 17 years the moment Marine One, the president’s helicopter, left the front yard of the White House at the chaotic end of his term, which turned out not to be the case. Pictured: Melania and Donald in July of this year
“She came to America from Slovenia with nothing, had her own career as a model, and then married a billionaire.
“She’s ambitious. She looks flawless. She supports her husband. She shows up when he needs her. Make no mistake, she knows how valuable she is to Trump — and so does he. Melania is one of the few people he listens to and fully trusts. He always says, ‘She has my back.’
While Ms. Trump’s office did not respond to an interview request, The Mail on Sunday spoke to several of Melania’s close confidants, who paint a picture of a woman content with life away from the “fishbowl” in Washington DC.
Interestingly, no one wanted to be cited on record for fear of offending Melania, who distrusts the press and accuses America’s media of plotting vendettas against her husband — and her.
While Melania’s critics portray her as distant and indifferent and say she was never fully committed as first lady, her supporters say she was forced to erect protective barriers.
Former close friends, including her ex-press secretary Stephanie Grisham and senior adviser Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, have both written scathing books about Melania. “She was burned and betrayed by people she trusted,” said one person who declined to appear on the record. “The only people she really trusts are her family.
“There were stories about her being stupid. She’s not stupid. She does what she wants, like Donald. They don’t reply to anyone and don’t care what people think of them. Melania lives in her own little bubble. Nobody is forcing her to do anything she doesn’t want to do.”
Which brings me to the $64,000 question. Will Melania ever return to the White House? Toni Holt Kramer expects to see her friend on October 31, when Melania hosts Mar-a-Lago’s famous Halloween party, marking the formal start of the winter season at the club.
She is so in love that she started the group TrumpettesUSA to promote female support. She says, “I think Donald will run again and win – and Melania will be right next to him.”
And Melanie? She has only given one interview since leaving the White House – for the American weekend show Fox & Friends. When asked if she would like to continue serving as First Lady, her response was characteristically enigmatic: “Never say never.”