Critic's Notebook: Melania Trump Plays Blame Game as Anderson Cooper Tries to Keep a Straight Face

The Hollywood Reporter

So now we know. It was all Billy Bush's fault ... and the Clintons' ... and the liberal media's.

That, at least, was Melania Trump's explanation for her husband Donald Trump's horrible, misogynistic comments heard in the leaked Access Hollywood tape. As well as the accusations since then by multiple women about how Trump sexually assaulted them.

Melania appeared on Anderson Cooper 360 to rebut the charges against her spouse, which was a curious choice since her husband has dubbed CNN the "Clinton News Network." Sitting with Cooper in her mink-lined Trump Tower prison, the aspiring first lady was steadfast in her defense. She said that Billy Bush had "egged on" her husband to say "dirty and bad stuff" - she decorously avoided such direct quotes as "grab 'em by the pussy" - labeling the lewd remarks as mere "boy talk." Because, after all, a man shouldn't be held accountable for something he said when he was a callow youth of 59.

During his gentle questioning, Cooper kept such a straight face it made you realize that he is not someone with whom you ever should play poker.

Wearing eye makeup that would have embarrassed Elvira and seemingly auditioning for the lead role in another remake of The Stepford Wives, Melania claimed that the media and the Clintons were in cahoots. If Bill and Hillary were watching, they were no doubt wondering why they hadn't been let in on the plan.

Read more: Melania Trump Says Husband Was "Egged On," Blames "Left-Wing Media" for Tape


Melania described her husband as a "gentleman," saying that the voice heard on the infamous recording "is not the man I know." She bizarrely wondered if Bush and her husband "even knew that the mic was on," as if it would be perfectly normal to talk in such a manner if they thought it wasn't.

When Cooper quoted from Michelle Obama's blistering speech decrying Trump's behavior with women, you could see that Melania desperately wanted to take notes. Indeed, she has such a proclivity for quoting first ladies that it's surprising she didn't use the phrase "vast left-wing conspiracy."

As for the accusations that have come out by numerous women, Melania said she believed her husband. Apparently, in her mind, it's simply a matter of he said, she said. Or, in this case, he said and she said and she said and she said and she said and she said and she said and she said and she said.

She decried the public "name-calling" of her and her family, which is a pretty ironic position to take for someone named Trump. Asked about her husband's disparagement of his accusers' looks, she said simply, "That's him. He's raw." (Just a suggestion, but perhaps he should have been cooked a little more before running for president.)

She repeatedly blamed the media for her husband's travails, citing the New York Post (which everyone surely knows is a liberal bastion) as an example. She wasn't upset that the newspaper published her sexy modeling pictures, mind you, but rather that they got the dates on which they were taken wrong. (This is known as biting the hand that feeds you. It's just a shame that there are no right-wing news outlets around to provide a counterbalance.) She also said that her husband doesn't bother to read The New York Times, which could explain why he exhibits such little knowledge of international affairs.

But Melania isn't taking it lying down, telling Cooper, "I file a few lawsuits." You can't say that she hasn't learned anything from her husband. She also announced that she's committed to helping children deal with the damaging effects of social media. Perhaps she could start by asking them not to read Donald's tweets. 

Read more: Billy Bush, NBC Reach Settlement Over Donald Trump Tape