The human cipher that is First Lady Melania Trump has been getting quite a bit of press lately, both for her out-of-touch speech at the Republican National Convention and for various insights into her life and parenting style (as provided by recently published tell-all, Melania & Me: The Rise & Fall of My Friendship With the First Lady, by Stephanie Winston Wolkoff). And in reading the book we blinked and almost missed the apparent true story behind The Most Melania Meme of all time: the #FreeMelania frown.
If you’re not familiar with the meme, it was a widely circulated 2017 video clip in which Melania Trump smiles, one might say bigly, at the President and then super-frowns as soon as he turns his back. The clip / GIF / tweets thereof went viral and sparked much debate over Melania’s true opinion of her husband. In Winston Wolkoff’s book, however, she shares the story of that day as Melania told it to her — and in doing so reveals that the real reason behind Melania’s frown is one any parent can relate to.
— #ISTANBULTHEMES #TheOriginal (@ISTANBUL_THEMES) January 24, 2017
“Viewers of the footage assumed that she only smiled when Donald was watching, and as soon as his eyes were off her, she let her true contempt show,” Winston Wolkoff wrote of the incident, before clarifying: “It wasn’t at all what had happened.”
So why did Melania suddenly scowl?
“Barron had kicked her in the ankle,” Winston Wolkoff writes, noting that Melania had told her the story later. Melania also apparently said that “it hurt.” Boy have we been there. Kid kicks, however innocent, can certainly hurt — especially those that come from big 11-year-old feet!
Winston Wolkoff actually encouraged Melania to speak to the press about the incident and put a stop to the #FreeMelania tweets. “As her advisor, I suggested she set the record straight about the #FreeMelania frown,” Winston Wolkoff writes. “She said, ‘Who cares what they think?… I don’t owe them an explanation.’ ‘They’ happened to be the American people.”
Melania Trump’s comments about her son Barron reveal she’s a surprisingly hands-off mom.https://t.co/NuQEEy6xMB
— SheKnows (@SheKnows) September 2, 2020
Whether Melania made that choice out of a concern for Barron’s privacy or just her own we don’t know. But we have to say: Putting on the Scowl Seen ‘Round The World after getting publicly ankle-stomped by a feisty tween is possibly the only time Melania has seemed like a relatable parent to us. Maybe she should have given “them” an explanation at the time after all.