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by Natalie Finn | Tue., Jun. 13, 2017 5:00 AM
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The president and first lady are once again sharing a roof.
Almost six months since her husband's inauguration, Melania Trump and son Barron Trump officially moved into the White House over the weekend—as Melania said they would once the school year was over. Barron is the first son to live there since John F. Kennedy Jr.
A helicopter deposited the family at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on Sunday and Melania and Donald Trumpheld hands as they walked across the lawn. And while it's usually Melania making the fashion headlines, 11-year-old Barron stole the spotlight with his T-shirt reading "The Expert."
"Looking forward to the memories we'll make in our new home! #MovingDay," the first lady captioned a photo of her sweeping view of the Washington Monument and beyond from inside the residence.
A post shared by First Lady Melania Trump (@flotus) on
And so begins the next chapter in the domestic portion of Donald Trump's presidency. What effect Melania's more frequent presence has on her husband—reporters kept hearing that he was on the lonely side rattling around in the White House at night—remains to be seen, but her life is certainly about to change for the duration.
Though she would venture out to Washington or Mar-a-Lago when her husband was hosting dignitaries and to make the occasional speech (and she was by his side on his nine-day trip to the Middle East and Europe last month), while living primarily in New York with Barron she at least had the opportunity to lead a private life in the margins.
Aside from appearances at major society events like the Met Gala, before becoming first lady Melania was never much of an out-and-abouter. She ran her jewelry line for QVC but otherwise took pride in being a full-time mom, first and foremost. (Michelle Obama too often described herself, for starters, as Malia and Sasha's mom.)
That part isn't expected to change much. Barron, who will attend St. Andrew's Episcopal School in Potomac, Md., this fall, is on summer break and surely Melania's No. 1 concern at the moment is getting him fully acclimated to life in D.C. Melania's parents, Victor and Amalija Knavs, arrived with them yesterday and are expected to be around frequently to help care for Barron—though they will not be relocating full-time to the White House as Michelle Obama's mother, Marian Robinson, did. The Knavses reportedly split their time between the family's Trump Tower penthouse in New York, Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach and Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., along with the rest of the family.
But quite like Michelle, Melania will soon have a daily public schedule mapped out for her and all the world will be watching.
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While moving for most people involves a lot of unpacking and getting organized, Melania's moving preparations also included adding more people to her East Wing staff and ramping up her schedule so as to make for a smoother transition upon arrival.
She previously hired Lindsay Reynolds, who served as associate director of the White House's visitors office during the George W. Bush administration, as her chief of staff, and former Vogue PR manager and longtime friend Stephanie Winston Wolkoff as chief strategist. In February Anna Cristina Niceta Lloyd was appointed Melania's social secretary, which is widely considered perhaps the most important role on the FLOTUS' staff. Lloyd will oversee the planning and execution of all White House social events.
Meanwhile, a source told E! News that Melania is "serious about getting started on charitable endeavors" and her team was busy setting up meetings for after her relocation. Last weekend the first couple attended a benefit gala at Ford's Theatre—their first outing into Washington society—and she and the president hosted a reception a week ago for Gold Star families.
As far as clues as to where she'll direct her influence, before Trump was elected Melania said that she wanted to focus on women's and children's issues, as well as tackle the scourge of cyberbullying.
On the home front Melania hired interior designer Tham Kannalikham to update the residence before her arrival. According to MarketWatch, presidents get $100,000 to decorate, as well as access to a trove of antiques and various items that were either on display already or in storage, but the Trumps are obviously free to dip into their own pockets as well. At this time they're the first first family in about 130 years to not have a pet, but maybe that'll change with Barron being around.
In January, Melania's makeup artist Nicole Bryl told Us Weekly that the former model would definitely have her own glam room—which may have been a fancy way of saying the first lady would be making modern use of the boudoir at her disposal off the master bedroom.
Either way, there's no doubt that Melania Trump is going to be photo-ready for the endless public appearances that precedent compels her to make. Other than that...
No one is expecting her to reinvent the wheel as first lady—nor does that make her all that different from most of the spouses who came before her, all of whom took on the role as they saw fit and left their own imprint in the history books. At the same time, it's impossible to pretend that the world isn't watching to see what Melania does just a bit differently from the way it's had its eye on other first ladies.
She'll have help for the day-to-day minutiae of the job. The scheduling, the planning, the correspondence, the speech-writing, the protocol, etc. will all be taken care of. As for the rest, she's on her own. Which may be how this first lady wants it.
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