Melania Trump has been conspicuously absent from many White House affairs during her husband’s first 100 days in office, leaving many of the duties of the first lady to instead fall on President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka.
Instead of moving with her husband to the White House after Inauguration Day in January, Melania has instead decided to stay in New York at the couple’s Fifth Avenue penthouse so that 11-year-old son Barron can finish the academic year.
The decision has caused some to question the strength of the president’s marriage, but it’s arguably been hardest on the first daughter, who has had to pick up the slack in Melania’s stead.
As Melania stayed home, Ivanka moved her three children and husband down to Washington to be at her father’s aid, and in many ways she has been filling in for the first lady.
Ivanka has taken a formal (yet unpaid) position in the White House. She has stood beside him at speeches and rallies, and the 35-year-old businesswoman greeted Chinese business leaders, accompanied Trump on his Dover Air Force Base tour and most recently helped the president receive an American charity worker who was freed after being held in detention for three years in Egypt.
The duties might be putting a strain on the relationship between Ivanka and her stepmother, Vanity Fair reported, saying there was a distinct “frostiness.”
Days after Vanity Fair published an article casting doubt on the closeness of the relationship between the first daughter and the first lady, Ivanka tweeted out a happy birthday message gushing about her stepmother.
‘Happy Birthday to our first lady (and my incredible step-mom!) Melania Trump,’ Ivanka tweeted on Wednesday. ‘A wonderful example of kindness and grace for us all! @FLOTUS.’
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) April 27, 2017
Despite the media reports, the White House has repeatedly denied any claims of a “frosty” relationship, calling the pair “close.”