News World Melania Trump’s popularity soars amid White House chaos and scandal
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Melania Trump’s popularity soars amid White House chaos and scandal

Melania Trump
Melania Trump remains an enigma as First Lady. Photo: Getty
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As her husband marks the one-year anniversary of his inauguration with a government shutdown, Melania Trump’s relationship with the American people seems only to be improving.

Despite the chaos and scandal engulfing the White House, the low-profile First Lady’s approval ratings have steadily increased since US President Donald Trump was sworn in, recent polling shows.

The boost in goodwill for the Slovenian-born former model comes as public opinion shifts against the rest of Mr Trump’s family.

A YouGov-The Economist poll this month found 48 per cent of respondents viewed the First Lady favourably, up from 44 per cent in February last year, while her unfavourable rating has increased by only two points to 33 per cent.

It means Mrs Trump, 47, is the only member of the Trump family with a higher favourable-to-unfavourable rating.

The same poll found disappointment with Ivanka Trump had soared, with her disapproval rating rising 10 points to 42 per cent.

Mr Trump’s approval rating, meanwhile, has remained steady at 43 per cent.

The findings in a separate CNN-SSRS poll were even better for Mrs Trump, whose favourability score rose to 47 per cent, up a whopping 11 points from the score she received from the same survey in January 2017.

And a Gallup poll from late last year found Mrs Trump’s poll numbers had increased from 37 per cent to 54 per cent.

Gallup noted her predecessors Michelle Obama (61 per cent), Laura Bush (77 per cent) and Hillary Clinton (58 per cent) all outperformed Mrs Trump at the same point in their husbands’ presidencies.

The First Lady has kept a relatively low profile since her husband’s inauguration but over the past few weeks she has been forced to deny claims she cried (“and not tears of joy”) on election night, while allegations resurfaced last week that in 2011 Mr Trump had an affair with a porn actress.

Melania Trump has kept a low profile as First Lady. Photo: Getty

Last year, Nicole Hemmer, an expert in Presidential Studies at the University of Virginia’s Miller Centre, told The New Daily the First Lady’s approach to the role was “quite a deviation” from her predecessors.

Rather than immediately move into the White House with her husband, Mrs Trump chose to remain in New York with the couple’s son, 11-year-old Barron, until he finished the school year in June. She was also slow to hire staff.

As first lady, Michelle Obama became a prominent advocate for healthy eating and exercise, Laura Bush campaigned on education issues and HIV/AIDS, while Hillary Clinton focused on gender equality and healthcare reform.

Earlier in the month, Mrs Trump finally hired a policy adviser, according to the New York Times, which said the move could help her “further an agenda that has been broadly defined as helping children”.

In contrast, Mrs Trump has mostly shied away from the spotlight.

A short speech she gave in September railing against bullying sparked a backlash online as critics pointed to Mr Trump’s behaviour on Twitter.

In October, during a visit to West Virginia, Mrs Trump said she hoped to give a voice to those affected by America’s opioid crisis.

While Mrs Trump remains a political enigma, the former model has made a marked impact in the world of fashion.

“Melania Trump is approaching her 200th day as First Lady … and in her short time at the White House, one that has been plagued by turmoil and scandal, she has redefined the politics of fashion,” fashion magazine Vogue said last week.

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