WASHINGTON: The president and first lady’s commuter marriage appear to be over, as the family has united under one roof again.
First lady Melania Trump and son, Barron, 11, moved into the White House Sunday after spending the first several months of President Donald Trump’s presidency residing in their Trump Tower penthouse in New York City,
“Looking forward to the memories we’ll make in our new home!” Melania Trump tweeted Sunday from her official @FLOTUS account. An accompanying photograph featured a view of the Washington Monument from a window in the White House.
Her communications director Stephanie Grisham confirmed the move, tweeting, “It’s official! @FLOTUS & Barron have made the move to DC! #WelcomeHome.”
The first lady and the president held hands as they walked from Marine One to the White House on Sunday. Barron strolled alongside them, dressed in a T-shirt emblazoned with the words, “The Expert.”
It is unusual for the first lady and the president to live apart during any stretch of the presidency, much less in its infancy. The Washington Post reported it appeared “unprecedented” and described the decision as flouting “the most basic of all first lady traditions.”
After Trump’s inauguration in January, Melania Trump and Barron remained in New York so the 11-year-old could finish out the school year at Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. He will transfer to the private St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Maryland for the coming year.
“My husband is traveling all the time,” Melania said after the election in November, when she first announced she would remain in New York. “Barron needs somebody as a parent, so I am with him all the time.”
Indeed, Melania has scarcely been seen at the White House since Trump’s presidency began. April’s Easter Egg Roll, which she co-hosted, arguably marked her most high-profile appearance in Washington since the inauguration.
Many think that will likely change, particularly because it will be more difficult for her to remain unseen while living in Washington, D.C.
“In New York City, both of them basically hide in plain sight, blending into the fabric of the city is an easier task,” former Secret Service agent Jonathan Wackrow said on CNN.
She also may become more involved in her role as first lady – something she’s been slow to do.
“She is embracing the ceremonial aspects of the role, but we have not seen any advocacy,” Myra Gutin, a professor of communication at Rider University and author who has studied first ladies, told The Washington Post in April.
Being at the White House may change that.
“I do think once she’s in D.C. there’ll be more pressure for her to be working on something that’s her own, that’s helping some segment of the population because that’s what first ladies are supposed to do,” Jean Harris, professor of political science and women’s studies at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, told the Associated Press.