Melania Trump's Plans For The Campaign Trail Are More Unclear Than Ever

Melania Trump's conspicuous absence from Donald Trump's 2024 presidential campaign has become something of a running joke, and some appearances between March and April 2024 have failed to shed light on her plans for the home stretch. Rather, they seem calculated to exhibit Melania's support while showing she wants no part in any of Donald's political and legal drama. But Donald says she'll be by his side at some point. "When it's appropriate, but pretty soon," he said on NBC's "Meet the Press" in September 2023.

According to Donald, Melania has been prioritizing their son, Barron, who will graduate from high school in the summer before the elections. "She's right now with Barron in school. She loves that boy," he explained. Melania has indeed always made her son a priority. She famously delayed her move to the White House in 2017 so that Barron, then 11, could finish the school year in New York City. But Melania's absence this time seems different because of everything that has gone down.

Donald is currently facing a whopping 91 felony charges in both state and federal courts. Additionally, Donald's hush money trial involving adult film star Stormy Daniels has reportedly caused Melania a lot of embarrassment and anger. Amid the slew of legal woes, many have speculated that Melania wants to keep her name out of them. In August 2023, sources told Radar she was even looking into divorce, though no actions have been taken. However, Melania has shown she's still in the game.

Melania Trump has increased public presence

The first campaign-related event Melania Trump attended in months was on March 19, 2024. She was by Donald Trump's side as they walked to the polling station to vote in the Florida GOP primary, a place she used to tease about her plans for the remainder of the campaign trail. "Stay tuned," she told reporters in a video shared by The Times on YouTube. Since then, Melania attended a fundraiser hosted by billionaire John Paulson (seen above). "Melania Trump emerged as the main star at the Republican fundraiser," a source told Page Six.

And Melania seemed to be wearing her campaigner hat. "The former First Lady, who usually appears quite serious in photographs, seemed to never stop smiling Saturday night and was charming and talkative to all the guests," the insider noted. Melania is also expected to hold a fundraiser for the Log Cabin Republicans at Mar-a-Lago on April 20, which will reportedly mark her first major campaign event this cycle.

The fundraiser is said to be an attempt to capture moderate voters. "The Trump campaign recognizes that Melania is their secret weapon," a source told the New York Post. "Her appeal is critical to win battleground states and undecided voters." It looks like Melania is back, but it also looks like she wants to do it on her terms. "She is very selective and methodical in what she wants to do and how she presents herself," an insider previously told CNN.

Melania Trump wants to avoid Hillary Clinton comparisons

According to some, the motivator behind Melania Trump's decision to step away from the spotlight was the Stormy Daniels case. "She didn't take it lightly at all," Melania's former press secretary Stephanie Grisham told CNN. After news broke about Donald Trump's alleged $130,000 payment to Daniels on January 12, 2018, Melania avoided his side in public. When they attended the State of the Union two weeks later, she went separately so she would not be seen walking to Marine One with him.

"She did not want to be like Hillary Clinton and standing by her man," Grisham said. "She's a very independent and strong woman." The former White House official went so far as to speculate that Melania's role on the campaign trail may be contingent on Donald's ability to end the hush money case. "I would imagine that she is pushing him to make this stop ... I can guarantee you that she's not happy right now and that he's quite worried about that," she added.

Unsurprisingly, Melania was nowhere near Donald when he was arraigned in April 2023. In the five years between the news and Donald's indictment, Melania's feelings about the issues have reportedly not subsided. "She remains angry and doesn't want to hear [the alleged hush money payment] mentioned," a source told People. As Donald continues to face the consequences of the case, Melania has opted to distance herself. "She doesn't sympathize with Donald's plight," the insider said.