While First Lady Melania Trump is probably most well known for her reserved nature and demure presence with the public and the media, she has certainly sent a strong message over the years when it comes to displays of affection for the president. To put it plainly — Melania is not a hand-holder. The swats, side-steps, and other obvious attempts at avoiding contact with Donald’s hand have made headlines and left us wondering: Is she that repulsed by her own spouse? Even last night in the final presidential debate between Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden, her biggest moment of the night was when she pulled her hand away as the president held it.
Over the last four years, speculation has run amok on their relationship and whether she even likes Donald or merely tolerates him because of these blatant rejections. Notably, former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen said this about the president’s marriage on a podcast a few weeks ago:
“There was a time that things looked a little bit iffy in their marriage you may recall where she wouldn’t hold his hand . . . it’s very possible that they then sat, they brought the lawyers in and they redid the agreement . . . I think she may have potentially — I’m only speaking from opinion I don’t know it to be fact, but I think, knowing Melania — being calculating, which she is — she may have upped the ante at some point.”
Whatever the motive, pulling away from and even swatting the president’s PDA attempts has become par for the course in both formal and informal Trump administration appearances. Take a look at some of the most memorable instances below.
The Final Presidential Debate
Melania yanks her hand away from Trump.
— The Recount (@therecount) October 23, 2020
We’ll start with the most recent. After last night’s debate, the cameras caught a moment where she pulled away from holding his hand. Donald, aware of the fact that there were cameras everywhere, gave her a slight push on the back before giving up and walking away. He. looks. pissed. And just in case you’re not convinced, here’s the exact shot again from a different angle.
I know we hate a "Melania HATES him" narrative BUT I MEAN pic.twitter.com/dpXKEOe2So
— Pa-skull 💀 (@WalnutDust) October 23, 2020
On a State Trip to Israel
— Haaretz.com (@haaretzcom) May 22, 2017
In this video, we see Melania walking behind Donald during their trip to Israel. When the president turns back and reaches out for her hand, she quickly takes a look at his hand, then flicks it away.
Exiting Air Force 1
How unpopular is Donald Trump? Even Melania has stopped pretending she gives a damn about him: pic.twitter.com/FAqTODDoeb
— Palmer Report (@PalmerReport) August 17, 2020
Here, Melania pulls away her hand as they walk down the stairs. And it leaves Donald with some pretty awkward attempts at trying to hold her hand again before giving up.
On Their Way to Ohio
WATCH: President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump depart the White House on their way to Ohio pic.twitter.com/unoZ5xyEXN
— NBC News (@NBCNews) February 5, 2018
And then there’s this instance, where Melania cleverly uses her coat to block his hand. With her arms safely covered by her coat, there’s no way he can access her hands. We see you girl!!
At a White House Event
“I know I’ve been an absentee dad and a horrible husband – including flagrant affairs while you were pregnant – but let’s just hold hands at this event…” pic.twitter.com/gLDCs40iCk
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) April 24, 2018
I mean someone PLEASE tell me what he’s doing here with his fingers! Melania takes a small step, seemingly hoping to put an end to his efforts before Trump scoops her hand and she admits defeat. Better luck next time, Melania!
At Another Public Engagement
Not that I have any sympathy for her, but same, Melania. Same.pic.twitter.com/7cUvrUU1nL
— Brian Tyler Cohen (@briantylercohen) January 14, 2020
Here, we see Melania again swing her hand to get Trump to let go of her hand. The forcible action of doing so even made Trump wobble a little! After losing this battle, Trump fixes his suit and tries to play it cool.
Body language is everything. And although it’s usually a little more subtle, make no mistake, there clearly is something up with Melania and Donald Trump.
Before you go, click here to see quotes that prove Melania Trump is a lot like Donald Trump.