Melania Trump Will Honor ‘Basic Goodness of Our Children’

President-elect's wife brings a fresh point of view and a new sense of glamour to the White House

Melania Trump is suddenly our new first lady, a reality that at least half the country never saw coming.

As we transition into a different presidential administration and she transitions into her role as White House hostess — and the more comely face of Donald Trump’s presidency — what should we expect from her?

She is practical, approachable, and beautiful.

As a former model, she’s more style-savvy than most previous first ladies. Though some consider White House attire to be inconsequential, remember that first ladies are often seen more than they are heard — and are therefore subconsciously, if not overtly, expected to be the graceful and welcoming face of administrations. Their fashion speaks to the entire world, offering (one hopes) a touch of elegance and sophistication to otherwise formidable, less approachable U.S. presidents.

And though some of Melania Trump’s professional modeling photos would make Barbara and Laura Bush blush and reach for a bathrobe, Mrs. Trump has toned down her sexiness to become an elegant and beautiful representative for her husband and family. She and her sense of style and glamour will be an asset to the country’s sense of decorum and aesthetics.

But her own roots are far more humble. She was born in former Yugoslavia, now Slovenia, where her father worked at a car dealership while her mother worked as a pattern cutter in the garment industry.

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Though Melania and her family traveled throughout Europe when she was young — she speaks fluent Slovenian, French, Serbian, and German, in addition to English — much of her childhood was spent in the oppressive, concrete Communist housing that many Americans have a hard time imagining. As a result, perhaps, she has a practicality and approachability about her, despite her beauty.

That down-to-earth practicality, as well as her concern for children’s well-being around the world, is already leading Melania Trump to campaign against cyberbullying as the first lady-to-be. She says our social media culture has become “too mean and tough” and is too often based on insults about “looks and intelligence.”

In her first speech after the Republican National Convention, Melania Trump said, “It is never OK when a 12-year-old girl or boy is mocked, bullied, or attacked. It is terrible when it happens on the playground, and it is absolutely unacceptable when it is done by someone with no name hiding on the internet. We have to find a better way to talk to each other.”

Related: Getting to Know the Real Melania Trump

She added, “We must find better ways to honor and support the basic goodness of our children, especially in social media. It will be one of the main focuses of my work, if I am privileged enough to become your first lady.”

Beyond her concern for children, she’s also a devoted mother to 10-year-old Barron Trump. She once told Parenting magazine, “I am a full-time mom. That is my first job — the most important job ever.”

She seems to balance motherhood, her marriage to Donald Trump, and her career as an entrepreneur (she has a skincare and jewelry line, among other interests) with natural aplomb and grace.

So which first ladies can we anticipate Melania to model? Expect less Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton, both of whom were involved politically in their husbands’ presidencies.

Melania seems to prefer a more demure role, telling GQ earlier this year, “I chose not to go into politics and policy. Those policies are my husband’s job.”

Still, don’t expect her to remain silent, either, since she also told CNN’s Anderson Cooper, “I don’t agree with everything [Donald] says, but, you know, that is normal. I’m my own person. I tell him what I think. And I think that’s very important in a relationship … I give him my opinions many, many times.”

“I see Melania moving us back to the more traditional role.”

“I see her going back to a Jackie Kennedy model of first lady,” Jean Wahl Harris, a University of Scranton scholar who researches the roles of first ladies, told USA Today. “She’s not going to want to be in the public eye. Jackie Kennedy wanted to protect her children and herself. Melania will be like that. She won’t like talking in public … In terms of the evolution of the first lady, I see [Melania] moving us back to the more traditional role.”

And part of that traditional role includes making sure her loved ones enjoy happiness and relational harmony.

Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian at Rice University in Texas, also envisions Melania Trump exemplifying Jackie Kennedy’s character. “Somebody who has keen eye on fashion, who doesn’t interfere with policymaking in a public way,” he said. “She will travel and be courted around Europe as someone who is glamorous … There’s no advantage for her to get involved in politics in a visceral way.”

Related: Melania Trump Brings Glamour, Style, Class

Mark Feldstein, a journalism professor at the University of Maryland, stated, “I think all bets are off as far as usual expectations, and that applies to the first lady as well as Trump himself.”

Time will tell how Melania Trump embodies the role of first lady. At this point, expectations are high — and her ability to fulfill them seems excellent.

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