Lately, President Trump and Melania’s relationship has made headlines (but really, when has it not?). Whether it was Melania posting a solo pic to mark Trump’s first year in office, her opting out of the Davos trip after their 13th wedding anniversary (which neither acknowledged on social media) or — let’s be real — anything Stormy Daniels-related, the forecast of their marriage has been overcast with skepticism.
This has been a year filled with many wonderful moments. I’ve enjoyed the people I’ve been lucky enough to meet throughout our great country & the world! ?? pic.twitter.com/MMRi72ENd0
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) January 20, 2018
To add to all the suspicion floating around, Trump’s first official State of the Union address was last night — and breaking from tradition, the president and Melania arrived separately (note: for last year’s joint address to Congress, they shared a ride).
According to CNN, the presidential pair, who reportedly hadn’t been seen publicly side by side since New Year’s Eve, didn’t make the short trip from the White House to the Capitol in the same car.
The Obamas, as well as the Bushes, arrived together for their respective State of the Union addresses. But Melania’s communications director, Stephanie Grisham, was quick to shoot down any notion that their separate arrivals hinted at a bigger issue.
Melania, she told CNN, hung back to honor her guests “for the true heroes they are.”
“In addition to holding a White House reception and photo opportunity for them, along with their friends and family, she is accompanying them to the Capitol,” Grisham said in a statement. “Once there, the first lady and Mrs. Pence will host a more intimate meet-and-greet to engage with them on a personal level prior to the speech.”
Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders reiterated that the first lady came independent from her husband for “no reason other than she can greet the guests and he can go straight in.”
According to CNN, holding a reception for guests isn’t in typical fashion for a first lady. As the site stated, typically, the president’s “annual meet-and-greet with the guests in the Oval Office suffices for pre-speech pomp and circumstance.” But Grisham said that Melania wanted to have more “personal exposure.”
Melania posted to Twitter before Trump’s SOTU about the 15 special guests accompanying her in the first lady’s box.
I will be joined tonight by an honorable group of Americans. Sitting with me are heroes who have served our nation in times of need, families who have suffered at the hands of evil, and citizens who have embraced the American dream. #SOTU
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) January 30, 2018
And the following day, she tweeted out a video of their meet-and-greet.
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) January 31, 2018
Grisham said the Trumps were scheduled to leave the SOTU together (in the same car, that is).
The president did mention Melania at the beginning of his speech last night, similar to how he began his 2017 joint address: “Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, the First Lady of the United States, and my fellow Americans…”