America's next first lady Melania Trump has kept her own political beliefs quiet throughout the election, and many wonder if she'll remain so now that her husband is the president-elect of the United States. Of interest in particular are her views on issues affecting women, especially the controversial ones her husband has spoken out against, like abortion. But we may never know Melania Trump's stance on abortion, or any other political topic, since she's committed to keeping quiet.
Melania, Donald Trump's third wife, wasn't born in the United States. She was born Melania Knauss in a small town in Slovenia, a country in the European Union just south of Austria, and worked throughout Europe as a model. She met Donald Trump in 1998, while she was modeling, but it would be years before they married. Together, they have one child, a son named Barron, and Melania has implied over the years that her role as mother has become primary. She told Parenting that her role as mother and primary caregiver to Barron was clear from the start, and that Donald Trump as father was to be mostly hands off: "I didn’t want him to change the diapers or put Barron to bed."
Melania, having embraced traditional parenting roles, may have been influenced more by her upbringing in Slovenia than any political or social ideologies of her husband. Her parents immigrated to the U.S. and live in New York, to be close to their grandson (who speaks Slovenian with them), according to a rather in-depth profile of Melania from GQ earlier this year. Her mother made a good life for Melania and her sisters when they were growing up, sewing them clothes (which they often had designed themselves) and taking the family on vacations all throughout Europe, according to GQ. But there was one skeleton in the family's closet that was bound to come up, pertaining to her father, Viktor.
The GQ profile claims that, prior to marrying Melania's mother, Viktor had been with another woman whom he had gotten pregnant, and he insisted she have an abortion. She did not, and went on to petition for a paternity test, which confirmed Viktor's paternity. Melania has never spoken about her half-brother, Denis Cigelnjak, but he spoke to GQ's Julie Ioffe, admitting he didn't believe that Melania knew he existed. And if she did, he said she'd probably deny it. When Ioffe asked Melania about it, she initially did deny it — but later said, when presented with court documents, that she'd "known about this for years," she pointed out that her father is a private citizen and she would like his privacy to be respected.
On the flip side, Donald Trump has been asked outright by reporters if he's ever been involved with a woman who had an abortion. Maureen Dowd, writing for The New York Times, asked him back in April of this year if he'd ever been involved with a woman who (to his knowledge anyway) had an abortion, and he deflected by calling it "an interesting question" and refusing to answer.
If Melania has any feelings one way or the other about her husband's stance on abortion — or any other hot button political topic — we probably will never hear about it. She's said on several occasions that her approach to being first lady would be very traditional, and aside from that, she just isn't that interested in politics to begin with, at least not publicly, according to Us Weekly. She was fairly quiet on the campaign trail, only coming to her husband's defense when it was absolutely necessary (like after the release of the now-infamous "Billy Bush tapes," in which Melania felt her husband had been "egged on").
When pressed about her interests as first lady, she's been skillfully vague. Although she has, much to the internet's chagrin, pointed to an interest in tackling internet "bullying," she's also cited the charity work she's already involved in as being likely to continue when the Trumps arrive in the White House. Given her already somewhat fraught track record of speech giving (she was accused of plagiarizing a speech of Michelle Obama's at the Republican National Convention) it wouldn't be surprising if she opted to stay out of the limelight, instead focusing on her son and endeavors (like jewelry design) that are already a focus for her.
As Melania is likely to learn sooner rather than later, the role of first lady is one open to criticisms no matter how much or how little you do, and for many conservatives who support Trump, a first lady seen but not heard is probably right in line with their hopes and expectations for the next four years.