Twitter has refused to remove a naked photo of Melania Trump which was posted by Cardi B earlier this week, as it doesn't violate the company's terms of service, a company spokesperson has clarified.

Twitter has a non-consensual nudity policy that would see an account immediately suspended for sharing someone else's nude image without their permission. However, the policy doesn't cover those images which have already been published with the person's consent, a spokesperson told The Independent.

The picture is from Melania Trump's modelling days, prior to her marriage to Donald Trump. It was taken in 1996 and published in a French magazine the following year, but resurfaced when Donald started campaigning for the president's post in 2016.

Cardi herself has shared the same picture on a previous occasion last year, but the post has since been removed. The musician shared another nude picture of the then-first lady in August last year, that too during an argument over her controversial song "WAP," after Republican pundit DeAnna Lorraine commented, "America needs far more women like Melania Trump and far less like Cardi B."

A similar scenario took place in recent days after conservative commentator Candace Owens criticised the rapper's performance of her sexually charged song "WAP" at the Grammys awards over the weekend. Owens described Cardi's performance as the "weakening of American society" and the "corrosion" and "end of an empire," which led to a war of words that spans over several tweets posted during the past few days, one of which includes a full-frontal nude photo of the last first lady of the United States.

After a lengthy exchange of tweets, Owens said she takes issue with the singer being used to encourage young women to "strip themselves of dignity," to which Cardi responded with a nude of the former FLOTUS writing: "No! Candy, men treat women on how a woman allows a man to treat them."

The "Bodak Yellow" rapper posted a second and lightly censored picture of Melania, writing in an accompanying tweet that she didn't know why Owens was so bothered by her "WAP." "I was just inspired by our former First Lady," she added.

Owens retorted by asking why the rapper is so "obsessed" with the Trump family, after which Cardi said Melania is her idol. "She showed me I can be naked perform wap and still be a First Lady one day ! ... wait so only White women can be naked and show their sexuality and evolve in their 30s but I can't ? Wow America is soo unfair. To think this was the land of the free," she tweeted. The online clash has ended with the duo threatening each other with legal actions.

Melania Trump
Melania Trump, seen here on January 20, 2021 which was the last day of her husband's presidency, cut a fashionable but distant figure Photo: AFP / ALEX EDELMAN