Melania Trump’s spokeswoman said Saturday that “absurdity abounds in the media’s coverage of our first lady,” offering the type of vehement public defense President Donald Trump has grown to expect of his most loyal aides.
“Reports focus on the trivial and superficial, rather than the deeper issues facing our country that she has tirelessly worked to address,” Stephanie Grisham, the first lady’s director of communications, wrote in an op-ed published on CNN.com.
Grisham’s roughly 1,300-word entry was written as a rebuttal to an opinion piece published earlier Saturday on CNN.com by network contributor Kate Andersen Brower, titled: “Melania shows she’s a Trump through and through.”
Brower, who has authored a book on the history of America’s first ladies, argued that Melania Trump’s interview Wednesday with Sean Hannity of Fox News “proved that she doesn’t understand what it means to be first lady.”
In that conversation, Melania Trump slammed “opportunists” including journalists, comedians and performers who use “my name or my family name to advance themselves.”
The first lady added: “The problem is they’re writing the history and it’s not correct.”
Brower took aim at the remark, writing in her op-ed Saturday: “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?”
Grisham accused Brower and the media-at-large of unfairly exaggerating Melania Trump’s interview with Hannity, as well as the results of a CNN poll released last week showing that the first lady’s approval rating has dropped 11 points since October.
“When Brower claims Mrs. Trump has no understanding of what it means to be first lady, she intentionally ignores all the effort the first lady has put into fulfilling the traditional responsibilities of the role,” Grisham wrote, citing the state dinner Melania Trump organized in April for French President Emmanuel Macron, her various holiday events at the White House and other official duties.
Grisham also lamented that Melania Trump “is still characterized as a ‘reluctant’ first lady,” and claimed she is routinely attacked for giving “honest answers” in interviews.
“I could continue with examples, but will inevitably be attacked for having a ‘woe-is-me attitude’ — it couldn’t possibly be that we are defending ourselves,” Grisham wrote. “The simple fact is that Mrs. Trump deserves honest reporting and media coverage that focuses on the substance of her message: the importance of helping children grow up to be happy, healthy and socially responsible adults.”
In her most forceful indictment of the media, Grisham wrote that journalists have “the opportunity and responsibility to report fairly, accurately and without bias,” adding: “They are, in fact, writing the first draft of our nation’s history. In many ways, they are failing to measure up to this responsibility. This failure must be addressed.”
Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine