Melania Trump has made me genuinely speechless, and no, I’m not talking about a third round of Christmas decorations. According to CNN, the First Lady has been keeping very busy making plans for her exit from the White House, and that’s included seeing about who exactly will be funding this next chapter of her life. If you’re thinking “why isn’t Donald Trump funding her next chapter,” you are not alone, but we do have a strong hint of where Melania does think her funding might be coming from. Melania inquired — or rather, had her aide inquire — into whether there was taxpayer money allocated to former first ladies to fund their post-White House lives. Breathe easy: the answer is no. But this staggering request did set off the question of why Melania may be making separate financial arrangements, and whether this should be taken as a hint that her (much-speculated) plans to divorce Donald Trump will go forward in the months to come.
There are a few details to this story that suggest Melania may be picturing a future without Donald. For one thing, sources say that Melania’s request about taxpayer money took place just a few days after the final state tally, well before her husband had started accepting defeat.
“She just wants to go home,” one source told CNN, adding that a 2024 run “might not go over well.”
Where will Melania and Donald Trump's son Barron end up in school next?https://t.co/XJUCzv931E
— SheKnows (@SheKnows) December 4, 2020
“After it became clear Trump would need to prep for her life after Washington,” writes CNN‘s Kate Bennett, “the first lady told [special adviser Marcia Lee] Kelly to discreetly ask West Wing acquaintances and a member of the Office of Management and Budget whether there were taxpayer funds allocated to former first ladies, according to two sources familiar with the discussions.”
“The short answer is no,” Bennett continues. “While there are post-presidential perks for such things for the outgoing commander in chief, budgets to set up an official office and staff and cover some travel costs, there is nothing from the government for any first lady, save a paltry $20,000-a-year pension, which is paid out only if her husband dies.”
With Melania looking at schools in Florida for Barron and Ivanka Trump buying up $30 million worth of property nearby, it seems clear what the Trump family’s next move would be. But if Melania had been told that funds were in place for the next few years, would she be going quite so quietly, or would she be more willing to shed Donald on her way out? And further — if it’s money that she’s after, Michael Cohen and others have heavily suggested that a payout in the event of divorce has been negotiated in their prenup.
As one source said, Melania wants to go home. And Donald’s attempts to hang on to the presidency for longer may have alienated him even farther from his wife.
SheKnows has reached out to Melania Trump’s representative and the Office of Management and Budget for comment.
Before you go, click here to see famous family feuds we’ll never forget.