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In the wake of President Donald Trump's bullying a teenager and the beginnings of an impeachment inquiry, Melania Trump, the first lady of the United States, is staying under the melee and continuing with the duties of her position. Melania, like she has many times before, is ignoring the headlines and just doing what first ladies do, according to CNN's Kate Bennett. Instead of addressing her husband's actions and maybe touching on her anti-bullying Be Best campaign, Melania is attending big-ticket events such as the General Assembly of the United Nations, ringing the bell at the New York Stock Exchange, and making sure everything back at the White House goes on as usual.
The Washington Post adds that the first lady's schedule appears to be packed with activity, but that she's not making herself available to members of the press.
"This has become routine for Melania Trump's relatively busy month," the paper explains. "Where she's been making an increasing number of public appearances but saying very little or nothing at all."
Her relative silence isn't sitting well. Parents at the United Nations International School commented on her inaction, saying that whether she likes it or not, she represents the current administration and should be available for comment.
"She happens to be the representative of the Trump administration, whose modus operandi is lying and bullying, two of the biggest, most basic lessons we teach children to avoid in life," Adam Pincus, who has a daughter in UNIS kindergarten, told the Post.
Back in Washington, the White House's fall plans are coming together, Bennett reports. In a tweet, she shared plans for the upcoming season, including garden tours. The announcement mirrored past tactics from the White House. When Robert Mueller was testifying about Russia, the first lady was tweeting about Christmas activities at the White House.
Meanwhile, White House life goes on as planned. pic.twitter.com/jZ8CECtY4f— Kate Bennett (@KateBennett_DC) September 24, 2019
Other critics are simply throwing their hands up. With a president that's so unpredictable, having a first lady that doesn't do what's expected shouldn't be surprising.
"For those of us who follow the first lady, it’s been harder [than with previous first ladies] to really assess what Mrs. Trump is doing," Myra Gutin, professor of communication at Rider University, told the Post. "There's sometimes no rhyme or reason to it."
Melania also posted a gallery of images from her recent travels on Twitter. While they seem pretty standard for the first lady, many, Bennett included, saw that they were slightly off, considering the sepia tone and the off-kilter cropping.
Not everyone is being critical, however. Lauren A. Wright, an associate research scholar in politics and public affairs at Princeton, notes that there's no template for what a first lady has to do.
"I think there have been some very unfair critiques of her lack of public activity," she said. "There's no requirement that she sets aside her life and just turns into a full-time advocate for her husband."