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CNN poll: Melania's favorability plummets

Melania Trump's favorable rating has fallen by double-digits, according to a new CNN poll. The first lady, whose favorability stood at 54% in October, has slipped to 43% in just two months.

Posted: Dec 14, 2018 9:04 AM
Updated: Dec 14, 2018 9:38 AM

In a rare interview Wednesday night Melania Trump proved that she doesn't understand what it means to be first lady.

She told Fox News's Sean Hannity that "opportunists who are using my name" are the hardest part of being first lady, again making the job about herself and her family instead of taking the opportunity to talk about the challenges she sees other people facing.

She reserved her harshest words for the media, her husband's favorite punching bag. The biggest challenge she faces as first lady, she said, is from "comedians to journalists to performers, book writers."

Really? Is her family's legacy the thing that worries her most? After all the pain she has witnessed as first lady, from meeting with a survivor of the Parkland, Florida, high school shooting to visiting with children separated from their parents at the border, has the media really been the most difficult part of her job?

If so, that is a big problem.

When Hannity asked if the criticism "hurt" her, she said, "It doesn't hurt. The problem is they're writing history and it's not correct."

The entire moment was a lost opportunity to put attention on the families of struggling Americans she's met in her role as first lady, especially since she spent time the very next day reading to children at Children's National Hospital, some sitting in wheelchairs with IVs attached. And the Hannity interview took place on USS George H.W. Bush, a trip the first lady made to support members of the military and their families.

Wouldn't it have been heartening to hear her use that moment during the interview to talk about the women and babies she's met struggling with opioid addiction, or the children who she has met as part of her "Be Best" campaign who have been bullied at school, or the people whose homes were destroyed in the California fires?

Unfortunately, there are no shortages of tragedies and shortcomings to cite. Anything but another pity party would have been nice -- and could have been expected from any other first lady in recent memory, all of whom, regardless of party, understood the incredible opportunities that accompany the sometimes-frustrating position.

We are getting to know Melania Trump more and more the longer her husband is in office, and it seems that many people are not liking what they see. According to a CNN poll out Thursday, Melania's favorable rating has fallen off a cliff. She now stands at 43% favorability, down 11 points from 54% in CNN's last polling just two months ago. Her unfavorable rating is also up six points to 36%.

The last time her public favorability rating was this low was in January 2017, before her husband's inauguration and before we knew her at all. The illusion that she was in some way a mollifying voice in this White House has been largely dispelled.

In the past couple of months, with the ABC interview in which she asserted that she is "the most bullied person" in the world and during her October trip to Egypt when she spoke about the #MeToo movement and said that although she stands with women, they need to present "really hard evidence," there is less and less separation between the first lady and the president (and that is what's causing her polling numbers to drop precipitously).

Recall that Melania said her decision to wear that now-infamous jacket while visiting migrant children at the Texas-Mexico border with the message "I really don't care. Do u?" was actually a message to the press, whom she detests. It was small, it was petty and it was not worthy of a first lady of the United States.

Being first lady is no easy task, admittedly. No modern first lady would deny the challenges and isolation that accompany the undefined role: There is no pay, no mention of it in the Constitution and endless scrutiny. At a 2013 summit in Africa Laura Bush and Michelle Obama talked about those challenges. "There are prisonlike elements, but it's a really nice prison," Obama said of the White House. "You can't complain."

All modern first ladies can relate to being frustrated with the press over their preoccupation with superficial things, including the way they cut their hair or what they choose to wear, but Melania has clouded the profound responsibility and honor of the position with her own personal resentment.

"People are sorting through our shoes and our hair ... whether we cut it or not," Michelle Obama said at the 2013 summit. "We take our bangs [she had just had bangs cut] and we stand in front of important things the world needs to see. And eventually, people stop looking at the bangs, and start looking at the things we're standing in front of. That's the power of our role."

That power is real and should be recognized and used to help those less fortunate, as has been done by previous first ladies.

Decades earlier, when a residence staffer's child was born with a disability, Mamie Eisenhower asked the mother and child to move into the White House. In a June 18, 1990, letter from first lady Barbara Bush to former first lady Betty Ford, Bush alludes to the two of them working together to help a young girl be reunited with her family.

When Lady Bird Johnson found out that a butler's wife was battling cancer, she called two of the top oncologists in New York and that same day they landed at Washington's National Airport to examine her. Before a trip to Korea, Nancy Reagan was told about two Korean children who badly needed heart surgery. Reagan started working the phones, and by the time the Reagans were flying back home on Air Force One, they had asked some staff to fly commercial so that the children could fly back with them and have surgery in the US. The son of one White House butler said it best: "The first lady can pick up the telephone and change your life."

I hope Melania realizes soon that her own personal challenges are nothing compared to the incredible opportunity she has to make a difference and "be best."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 118322

Reported Deaths: 3591
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Marion21502767
Lake10688323
Elkhart6707111
St. Joseph6619113
Allen6330205
Hamilton4938109
Vanderburgh378131
Hendricks2766124
Monroe265536
Tippecanoe256613
Johnson2352124
Clark225957
Porter219947
Delaware200162
Cass19559
Vigo186827
Madison170375
LaPorte149141
Floyd139664
Warrick138242
Howard132663
Kosciusko125917
Bartholomew118457
Marshall101524
Dubois99919
Boone99146
Grant95134
Hancock94643
Noble93132
Henry81226
Jackson7739
Wayne77014
Morgan73438
Daviess68028
Shelby68029
Dearborn67528
LaGrange64011
Clinton62314
Harrison59224
Putnam58411
Gibson5355
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Lawrence51629
Montgomery51121
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Franklin31325
Clay3085
Ripley3078
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Whitley2826
Carroll27813
Adams2763
Wabash2728
Starke2717
Washington2701
Wells2674
Spencer2633
Jefferson2503
Huntington2473
Fulton2442
Tipton22822
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Perry22113
Jay1920
Newton17411
Owen1711
Martin1680
Pike1641
Rush1574
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Blackford1213
Pulaski1141
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Ohio797
Union790
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Warren411
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Ohio Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 151802

Reported Deaths: 4746
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin27119607
Cuyahoga17554656
Hamilton13237315
Montgomery7938164
Lucas7343364
Butler6085111
Summit5366252
Warren311549
Marion311147
Mahoning3095281
Stark2913175
Pickaway267944
Lorain233386
Delaware230621
Fairfield213253
Licking194963
Columbiana194080
Wood192172
Trumbull1916132
Clark183940
Clermont174423
Lake164851
Greene149034
Medina147539
Miami146351
Allen146269
Portage116866
Mercer113218
Erie95947
Tuscarawas94120
Wayne94068
Richland92219
Ross89624
Madison84312
Darke80643
Geauga72649
Athens7242
Belmont72427
Hancock72010
Lawrence67122
Ashtabula66048
Shelby66010
Putnam61923
Auglaize6119
Sandusky58020
Huron5557
Union5512
Scioto5167
Seneca48814
Ottawa47130
Preble44515
Muskingum4383
Holmes3959
Jefferson3384
Henry33414
Defiance33012
Champaign3133
Logan3133
Clinton30213
Perry3009
Brown2922
Knox28815
Washington26223
Jackson2616
Morrow2612
Fulton2591
Hardin25713
Crawford2476
Ashland2464
Coshocton23411
Fayette2336
Highland2303
Williams2143
Wyandot21312
Pike2020
Gallia19613
Meigs17610
Guernsey1738
Hocking1679
Carroll1527
Adams1364
Van Wert1243
Monroe11018
Paulding1100
Harrison643
Morgan500
Vinton473
Noble340
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