Melania Trump sat down with ABC News’ Tony Llamas for a one-on-one interview that covered many topics — from the #MeToo movement to bullying to her husband’s alleged infidelities.
The small-town girl from Slovenia who went on to become America’s first lady was poised, confident, and savvy during the hour-long interview.
Taped on a wildlife reserve in Kenya during Melania Trump’s recent solo trip to Africa, the interview featured a measured first lady, especially when it came to the sometimes intrusive questions that one could hardly envision other first ladies being asked — such as if she loved her husband.
About her trip to Africa, the first lady said, “I think it is very important that we show the world that America cares, and that this administration cares, and that I care. When other people have more opportunities, the world is [more free].”
Llamas asked her what she found most surprising about being first lady, and Mrs. Trump’s answer was food for thought — or should be, to those who are tasked with truly make a difference in the world.
“It’s sad to see that organizations and foundations I want to partner with choose not to, because of the administration. I feel they’re choosing the politics over helping others,” the first lady said. She added, “They know who they are.”
Below are the topics the first lady, who is 48, covered with grace and candor.
On the #MeToo movement: She echoed the comments of her husband on this topic — and the stance of anyone else who understands the importance of due process. “You need to have really hard evidence — that if you accuse [someone] of something, show the evidence,” she said.
“I do stand with women, but we need to show the evidence,” she reiterated. “You cannot just say to somebody, ‘I was sexually assaulted,’ or ‘You did that to me.’”
Speaking of the #MeToo movement in general, which began a year ago with numerous sexual assault accusations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, the first lady told “Good Morning America,” “I support the women and they need to be heard. We need to support them, and also men, not just women.”
She also blasted the media’s obvious bias, saying they go “too far.”
“I do stand with women, but we need to show the evidence … because sometimes the media goes too far and the way they portray some stories, it’s not correct,” she emphasized. “It’s not right.”
On marriage: Melania Trump also emphasized that she has “much more important things” to do than focus on the idea of any alleged infidelities of her husband, President Donald Trump.
“It is not [a] concern [or] focus of mine. I’m a mother and a first lady, and I have much more important things to think about and to do. I know people like to speculate, and media like to speculate about our marriage,” Mrs. Trump said.
Asked if she’s been hurt by the allegations of affairs, she said, “It’s not always pleasant, of course, but I know what is right and what is wrong and what is true or not true.”
When Llamas asked her if she and the president still have a good marriage — Llamas even asked if she loves her husband — the first lady replied, “Yes, we are fine. Yes.”
She continued, ”It’s what media speculate, and it’s gossip. It’s not always correct stuff,” she added. “I’m very strong, and I know what my priorities are.”
Melania Trump has not publicly addressed the allegations of her husband’s infidelities during their 13-year marriage. Back in June, former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, now President Trump’s personal lawyer in the special counsel investigation, said that the first lady does not believe her husband had an affair with porn star Stormy Daniels “She believes her husband, and she knows it’s untrue,” Giuliani said then.
“You’re really the most bullied person in the world?” Llamas pressed during the interview. “One of them, if you really see what people are saying about me,” she said.
The first lady’s communications director fired back at Giuliani at the time, telling CNN in a statement, “I don’t believe Mrs. Trump has ever discussed her thoughts on anything with Mr. Giuliani.”
Melania reiterated that in her interview, saying that she “never talked to Mr. Giuliani.”
Asked why she thinks Giuliani made his comment, the first lady responded, “I don’t know. You need to ask him.”
On bullying: Trump also said during the interview that she is “the most bullied person in the world,” changing that moments later to “one of the most bullied,”
One need only check various social media platforms to read the often vile comments that are almost routinely made about her — and that behavior is partly what’s driving her to help the next generation through these troubling issues.
“You’re really the most bullied person in the world?” Llamas pressed during the interview.
“One of them, if you really see what people are saying about me,” she said.
When asked about the president’s Twitter habits, the first lady responded, “I don’t agree always what he posts, but his action is his action, and I tell him that. I know I will be hit with criticism for talking about cyberbullying, but it will not stop me to do what is right.”
“I want to help the next generation, and the children” from those who hide “behind keyboards,” she said.
“Not everyone has a thick skin,” she said.
On immigration: On the topic of separating children and adults, she said, “I saw it on the news, and I reacted right away. It was unacceptable for me to see children and parents separated; it was heartbreaking. I reacted with my own voice.”
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She also said she was “blindsided by the separation policy at the border,” noting, “I told him [the president] at home, and I said to him, ‘I feel that’s unacceptable,’ and he said the same.”
On politics: She said there are still people working for her husband’s administration whom he cannot trust. She said she has advised him about whom she thinks he can trust, but he remains independent in making those decisions. Her opinion apparently carries weight with the commander-in-chief; asked what her husband did when she suggested some staffers couldn’t be trusted, the first lady replied, “Well, some people, they don’t work there anymore.”
“Do you think there are still people there that he can’t trust?” asked Llamas.
“Yes,” she replied.
On the jacket she wore when she visited detention centers in Texas: The back of Melania Trump’s jacket read, “I DON’T CARE DO U?” Those words and the jacket earned almost as much media attention as her June visits.
“Why did you wear it?” Llamas asked her of that fashion choice.
“I often ask myself, if I did not wear the jacket, if I would have so much media coverage … It was for the people, and for the left-wing media who are criticizing me, and I want to show them I don’t care,” she answered. “You could criticize, whatever you want to say, but it will not stop me to do what I feel is right.”
On meeting the future president: “He was very charming, and we had the great sparkle. He came with a date; he asked for my number.”
On White House life: “I don’t feel like a prisoner. I’m enjoying it. It will not last forever; it’s a special time.”
On a “meaningful life”: “I’m staying true to myself. I want to live a meaningful life. I know what my priorities are, and I want to live a meaningful life.”
On friends: “Quality over quantity” is her motto, she said, adding, “Sometimes you need to be careful.”
See a clip from the interview below.