It was three days before the most important dinner party she has ever hosted, but Melania Trump was not at the White House, triple-checking details. Instead, she was in Houston, Texas, to pay her respects to one of her predecessors, Barbara Bush.
The current first lady sat among several former presidents and first ladies in the pews at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church for Bush’s funeral service on Saturday, including former President Barack Obama, whom her husband, President Donald Trump, has often criticized. Michelle Obama was there, too; in January, she joked on a talk show about the way Mrs. Trump awkwardly handed her a gift box on the steps of the White House on Inauguration Day. Mrs. Trump hasn’t seen or spoken to either Obama since then.
Also nearby was former first lady and 2016 presidential rival Hillary Clinton, a favorite target of the President’s tweets, in which he likes to call her “Crooked Hillary,” ribbing his former rival about investigations and emails.
And, naturally, there were many Bush family attendees. The President’s constant primary campaign target, Jeb Bush, whom Trump nicknamed “low energy,” delivered a eulogy to his mother.
In other words, the first lady was literally, and voluntarily, walking into a den of potential adversaries. But as has become a trademark reaction to the drama surrounding her husband, Melania Trump didn’t let on that she cares about any of it, and she certainly wasn’t letting it stop her.
“She was invited to attend and intends to pay her respects to not only Barbara Bush, but the entire family,” the first lady’s communications director, Stephanie Grisham, told CNN, adding Trump is “a confident woman. … I know politics will not be an issue.”