BREAKING NEWS : FBI preparing for protests in Indianapolis Full Story

Barack Obama makes Melania Trump smile

Twitter erupts after former President Barack Obama makes Melania Trump smile. CNN's Jeanne Moos says it is not what it's cracked up to be.

Posted: Apr 26, 2018 7:22 PM
Updated: Apr 26, 2018 7:24 PM

Melania Trump has been at the center of planning the administration's first state dinner in honor of French President Emmanuel Macron and French first lady Brigitte Macron. These dinners are always more than they seem. They are not just about schmoozing -- they are often about serious matters of policy and in this case, that means the focus will be the fate of the Iran nuclear deal, which President Donald Trump described Tuesday as "ridiculous" and "insane" and which President Macron is still looking to salvage.

But it is Melania Trump who has been seizing the "optics" as the dinner approaches. There was her pose for the now-viral photo of herself with the Clintons, Obamas and Bushes at Barbara Bush's funeral service over the weekend, in which she seemed entirely at ease.

Earlier, her smile and warm exchange with President Obama at the funeral set Twitter on fire, and two days later the first lady was sending "healing thoughts of strength" to former President George H.W. Bush, who was hospitalized Monday -- even as her husband was tweeting about building the wall on the US-Mexico border and railing against "obstructionists" in Congress.

There was the statement-making white hat at the state arrival ceremony Tuesday, the pastoral photo of her with the Macrons as her husband planted an oak tree, a gift from their visitors. And the pictures posted on social media of her careful preparation for her turn as hostess to heads of state.

Melania Trump comes to this fateful moment in her husband's administration with a relatively low bar of expectations to clear. In her first year as first lady, many have observed her as remote, disengaged or powerless -- given her attempt to address bullying while married to someone whose milieu is made from online bluster and intimidation. Even so, in the eyes of many spectators, Melania Trump has come into her own as first lady as the Macrons' state visit has unfolded. All eyes are upon her.

Against this backdrop, the Trumps and Macrons and the powerful of DC will all sit down to dinner for a three-course meal that features rack of lamb and jambalaya. The first lady and her social secretary plan the details of these dinners, which can be nerve-wracking affairs. If there is a true proving ground for first ladies, Melania Trump may be on it.

Both first ladies and their staffs have spoken about the anxiety a state dinner can produce. "If you are invited to a state dinner, you are only supposed to reject that honor for four reasons: a death in the family, a serious illness, a wedding, or an unavoidable absence from Washington," said Bill Clinton's chief of protocol Mary Mel French.

Laura Bush recalled, "I was not nervous before my own wedding -- there were no jitters or cold palms then -- but I was anxious now." The Obamas' social secretary, Jeremy Bernard, told a group of embassy staff, "You know the feeling -- the fear of displaying a flag upside down, playing the wrong national anthem... the weather, especially here in D.C."

But Melania Trump hasn't seemed the least unnerved by the process. She's turning heads with her stylish, cool comportment, and has been overseeing preparations -- reportedly without relying on a planner -- with a menu that uses ingredients from Michelle Obama's kitchen garden and gold-themed table settings that use pieces from George W. Bush's and Bill Clinton's China service. She seems to have delighted in the process. Perhaps it's been a welcome distraction from more salacious or foreboding news. This may be the first lady finding her footing or it might just be a welcome refuge from the daily headlines.

The East Wing of the White House comes under the first lady's purview and always operates differently from the president's West Wing. They are not physically far apart, but when it comes to how power works, they might as well be on opposite sides of town. In the Trump White House, the distinction between them is more stark than ever.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Michelle Obama famously said, "When they go low, we go high." It seems Melania Trump is trying to epitomize that in the White House, even though it's a difficult credo to live by. Tuesday night she will try and bring some of the glamor and tradition of the past back. It will be a welcome sight.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 578494

Reported Deaths: 9202
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion798821282
Lake43601664
Allen31380537
Hamilton27675303
St. Joseph26409369
Elkhart23873336
Vanderburgh18192211
Tippecanoe16999116
Porter14183158
Johnson14120277
Hendricks13560236
Madison10312209
Vigo10297171
Clark9952128
Monroe8933105
Delaware8638129
LaPorte8589153
Kosciusko777375
Howard7712136
Warrick624990
Hancock621995
Bartholomew616094
Floyd5971105
Wayne5811155
Grant5716108
Dubois533570
Boone523167
Morgan501485
Marshall487084
Henry483262
Cass464959
Noble453956
Dearborn443343
Jackson410145
Shelby394376
Lawrence374172
Clinton359838
Gibson348556
DeKalb333063
Montgomery329150
Knox323339
Harrison317242
Miami305043
Steuben300740
Adams291635
Ripley287145
Wabash286345
Whitley286324
Huntington278757
Putnam278046
Jasper274933
White262038
Daviess255671
Jefferson242738
Fayette239248
Decatur237382
Greene229259
Posey225626
Wells225146
LaGrange222061
Scott212837
Clay212432
Randolph204940
Jennings188635
Sullivan185831
Spencer176917
Fountain175125
Washington170216
Starke169241
Jay160521
Fulton156829
Owen155536
Carroll150115
Orange146333
Rush145618
Vermillion141633
Perry141327
Franklin139333
Parke12718
Tipton126232
Pike111325
Blackford105122
Pulaski93636
Newton87820
Brown84428
Benton83010
Crawford7229
Martin68013
Warren6427
Switzerland6035
Union6033
Ohio4547
Unassigned0372

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 807293

Reported Deaths: 9990
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin95508704
Cuyahoga80262964
Hamilton59783436
Montgomery40858396
Summit32488697
Lucas29495575
Butler29100225
Stark24048388
Warren18471135
Lorain17563207
Mahoning16430334
Lake14941134
Clermont14703103
Delaware1349574
Licking12353132
Trumbull12096297
Fairfield1184280
Greene11338132
Medina10815164
Clark10334261
Wood9742153
Allen9355126
Miami867373
Portage8628104
Richland8604111
Marion7231112
Tuscarawas6987172
Columbiana6922124
Pickaway689050
Wayne6599162
Muskingum648939
Erie5729117
Hancock529088
Ross518287
Scioto508753
Geauga469955
Darke450589
Ashtabula431467
Union422327
Mercer419485
Lawrence417051
Sandusky413262
Auglaize407059
Shelby404621
Seneca404354
Huron399738
Jefferson391565
Belmont378140
Putnam359370
Washington357039
Athens35469
Madison331128
Knox329022
Ashland322538
Fulton319043
Defiance311476
Crawford306769
Preble306434
Brown289617
Logan284828
Ottawa275534
Clinton272741
Williams265757
Highland255618
Jackson250743
Guernsey234625
Champaign233727
Fayette218929
Morrow21754
Holmes215562
Perry215317
Henry206147
Hardin200932
Coshocton194517
Van Wert193744
Wyandot186948
Gallia186226
Adams160815
Pike160116
Hocking157423
Carroll143216
Paulding137521
Noble116138
Meigs99021
Monroe93827
Harrison8428
Morgan75826
Vinton64013
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Cloudy
39° wxIcon
Hi: 40° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 31°
Angola
Cloudy
37° wxIcon
Hi: 36° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 31°
Huntington
Cloudy
38° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 32°
Fort Wayne
Cloudy
39° wxIcon
Hi: 40° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 31°
Lima
Cloudy
38° wxIcon
Hi: 40° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 30°
Light Snow Friday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events