- The Washington Times - Friday, March 3, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

When first lady Melania Trump first appeared at her husband’s joint address of Congress on Tuesday night, she was met with thunderous applause from Republicans.

It’s routine for both parties to stand and greet the first lady as she descends into the gallery to take her seat, however, Democrats had other plans. Many refused to acknowledge Mrs. Trump as she waved and smiled at them, turning their backs on her to take their seats.

The act was a total rebuff of good manners — of civility in these highly contentious, political times — and something the New Yorker applauded.

“If her husband’s political opponents declined to add to the clapping and cheering — if they even declined to extend her the politeness she might, as an untested political wife, have expected — that action was understandable, and deserving of its own acclaim,” Rebecca Mead of the New Yorker wrote. “In times like these, the withholding of ordinary graciousness may be the very least that one can do.”

Ms. Mead was apparently appalled that Mrs. Trump was once a model — a role that required her to be a “cipher.”

“[Melania] has learned to be a blank slate. She is the O without the Jackie,” Ms. Mead penned.

She then hit the first lady for suing a publication for printing a story that falsely reported she worked as a prostitute.

“Still, like the President, she can only be judged by her actions, not by her imagined reservations. Thus far, they have not been impressive. Her most substantial act as First Lady has been to refile, in New York, a lawsuit against the Mail Online, the parent company of the Daily Mail, for its report, since retracted, that she once worked as an escort,” Ms. Mead wrote.

Ms. Mead was upset at the punitive and compensatory damages that were sought.

So, therefore — based on the fact that Mrs. Trump was a model and sued a publication for defaming her — congressional Democrats were justified in their bad manners, not giving her the respect a woman in her position has traditionally been due.

But it was not the first time the media showed disrespect toward Mrs. Trump this week.

Her first solo visit as first lady — to a hospital to read sick children a Dr. Seuss book — was also panned by progressive blogs and social media alike.

According to the hospital, Mrs. Trump talked about “how the gift of nature and the beauties of the outdoors can contribute to the healing process.”

Liberals quickly jumped on the comment, looking to spin it in the worst political light.

Melania Trump calls on the ‘gift of nature’ to heal sick children,” liberal blog ThinkProgress wrote. “Meanwhile, her husband’s plan would strip healthcare from 13 million children.”

AOL decided to highlight one awkward exchange, with its headline reading: “Child refuses to hug Melania Trump when she visited the hospital.”

Others, on Twitter, commented on how staged the interaction looked.

“Watching a video of Melania Trump at a children’s hospital is one of the most forced, painful and uncomfortable things I have ever witnessed,” Leah White wrote on the social media site.

All of which leads me to ask: Where has our civility gone? A little respect for our shared humanity?

A joint address to Congress where Democrats refuse to stand. Reading sick children a book, which is met with online criticism.

When Mrs. Trump tried to give then-first lady Michelle Obama a blue Tiffany’s box on Inauguration Day, the exchange quickly became a gif, where Mrs. Obama was lauded the hero and the gift-giver made to feel inadequate.

When Mrs. Trump decided to wear white at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, a writer at the Philadelphia Inquirer called the choice “another reminder that in the G.O.P. white is always right.”

Yet, when Democratic women congressional members wore the color on Tuesday night, it had morphed into a symbol of women’s suffrage.

It seems there’s nothing Mrs. Trump can do to get any respect — and there’s none the Democrats want to give her.


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