I cannot condemn anyone for personal attacks on President-Elect Trump’s appearance, speech-patterns, tiny hands or orange face. Honestly, maybe I should, because what is wrong with Mr. Trump has nothing to do with the color of his skin or the size of his appendages. But given that he’s made the appearance, disability, speech and size of others the subject of ridicule, I say, “Have at him.”
The attacks on Melania Trump, however, are different. Slut-shaming, mocking her accent or criticizing her appearance are just not okay. Doing it makes us no better than her husband. In fact, I think about the criticism that she likely faces from her own husband, and I wish someone would tell her that she has value that goes beyond her appearance.
With that said, we can (and should) criticize Mrs. Trump for her actions, when it is warranted. Plagiarizing a speech, defending her husband’s participation in the rape culture with his language (if not his deeds), and not recognizing the hypocrisy in a platform of anti-bullying as a First Lady — her actions within this political space are open to critical review.
Melania Trump is unlikely to live up to expectations as a First Lady after Michelle Obama, Laura Bush, Hillary Clinton, Barbara Bush, or Rosalynn Carter. (Yeah, I skipped one.) If she chooses to be a less visible, less active First Lady, that’s her right. There are no Constitutional requirements for the spouse of the American President. If she does choose to be visible, we have a right and an obligation to evaluate her deeds, her actions and her words. Everything else is off the table.