Melania Trump's time as the first lady of the United States has seen her shying away from most public events and appearances. However, the FLOTUS has recently shown a significant increase in public engagement. Quinnipiac University media studies professor Lisa Burns, believes that her increased involvement is a way of testing the waters ahead of the 2020 presidential election campaign for Donald Trump.
In her first year as the FLOTUS, Michelle Obama had delivered 74 speeches. Melania only delivered eight speeches after Trump assumed the role of the President of the United States. While the POTUS remains vocal, Melania's presence in the public eye had remained limited.
Since the 2016 allegations of plagiarising Michelle Obama's speech, Melania has remained quiet in front of the media. On Monday, Melania appeared in the public eye at the anti-bullying "Be Best" event. While the FLOTUS spent time talking to the children present at the event, she did not take any questions from the media.
Of all the Trump family members, Melania has the highest favourable rating as concluded by an Economist-YouGov poll conducted in March of this year. In 2018, Melania was voted as the most popular member of the Trump administration by a poll conducted by Quinnipiac University. The rare public involvement of the FLOTUS plays a role in the high popularity and approval rating that she enjoys.
Lauren A. Wright of Princeton University told the Washington Post that by separating herself from the White House staff members, Melania has remained an apolitical figure. While many have criticised her silence, Melania has gained popularity for it.
With talks of impeachment and a United Nations address which resulted in world leaders laughing at Trump, the party will be utilising Melania to regain favourability.
Burns notes that since the '40s and '50s, no FLOTUS has remained as silent and detached as Melania. With so few public appearances, every time Melania steps out for a public event, it immediately draws media buzz.
While former FLOTUS like Michelle Obama, Laura Bush, and Hilary Clinton were comfortable delivering speeches, Melania seems more comfortable being photographed. The non-native English speaker's comfort zone is being kept in mind while her husband's party pushes her to the forefront ahead of 2020 elections.