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Melania Trump Was 'Relieved' to Leave Washington and 'Isn't Interested' in Going Back: Sources

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Melania Trump spent four years as first lady of the United States — four years of controversy, of international scrutiny, of headlines and expectations about her role as national hostess, advocate and wife.

She is not clamoring for a reprise, those around her say.

"Melania does not like being in the public eye and has made it clear that she isn't interested in doing it again," a political source says, echoing previous reports in PEOPLE and elsewhere (most recently in CNN) about the most secluded first lady in memory.

"She likes family and her private life," this source says. "The media glare is not for her."

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Her reticence has long fueled curiosity about how she felt about being in the White House.

In secretly recorded audio a former aide infamously leaked last year, the then-first lady, 51, was heard suggesting she felt stuck between ceremonial obligations and critics who said she ignored or abetted her husband's divisive immigration policies.

She cracked then: "Who gives a f--- about the Christmas stuff and decorations? But I need to do it, right?"

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Melania Trump
Melania Trump

SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Melania Trump

As the political source tells PEOPLE now, "She was relieved when her husband's term ended."

That means President Donald Trump's wife, already a rare presence on the campaign trail, does not want to be involved in any way if he runs in 2024.

But that is contingent on him moving forward with a campaign, as he has suggested he will.

"Nothing has been decided about whether President Trump will run in the next election," the political source says. "At this point it is all speculation." (The source notes: "The constant chatter about it gives him the opportunity to raise money, which he is very good at doing.")

Mrs. Trump likes her life as it is, sans presidency, sources say.

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Her first priority is the couple's teenage son, Barron, who just started school at Oxbridge Academy in West Palm Beach, founded by Florida entrepreneur-billionaire Bill Koch (who contributed money to Trump's past campaigns).

While other students' mothers are "nervous about the added security around the grounds," Barron should fit well into the school, which uses a creative approach to education, hiring teachers with life experiences in their disciplines.

"She is totally involved with Barron's education, after-school activity and overall well-being," a social source says.

"She is not one bit interested in another campaign, and certainly not participating in it," this source says.

Businessman Donald Trump and wife Melania at the Trump Invitational Grand Prix at Mar-a-Lago, Palm Beach, Florida, January 4, 2015
Businessman Donald Trump and wife Melania at the Trump Invitational Grand Prix at Mar-a-Lago, Palm Beach, Florida, January 4, 2015

Michele Eve Sandberg/Corbis via Getty From left: Donald Trump and Melania at the Trump Invitational Grand Prix at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, on Jan. 4, 2015

The social source tells PEOPLE that, despite her public face, Mrs. Trump lets her husband know how she feels about politics and leaves nothing floating in the air. ("I give him my honest advice and honest opinions. And then he does what he wants to do," she said herself in 2018.)

Mrs. Trump and her parents have their own apartments at the seasonal Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, where the family has spent most of their time since leaving the White House in January.

This summer, she was also seen in New York City while her husband was staying at their property in New Jersey.

A spokeswoman for her did not respond to a request for comment for this story. Her office previously told PEOPLE she was "enjoying life at Mar-a-Lago. She is focused on being a mother and putting her family first, while working on various projects that will take time to finalize."

"If he runs, I doubt she will be involved at all," the social source says of the Trumps. "If he should win, that would be the worst-case scenario for her. Things will need to be evaluated at such a time."