Melania Trump hates Christmas.
That's pretty much canon at this point after a phone call audio featuring Melania complaining about Christmas went public. "I'm working my ass off at Christmas stuff that you know, who gives a f**k about Christmas stuff and decoration? But I need to do it, right? Correct?" she said in an audio file leaked by her former friend Stephanie Winston Wokoff.
But after four years of seeing her decorations stain the White House in all their ominous, grim glory, are any of us really that surprised?
Recently, The Cut ranked Melania's decorations from most to least haunted. It gave 2018's blood-red Christmas trees the top spot; and truly, those were cursed. The particular shade of red was ominous against the bland carpets; images of Melania walking alone through them had something of a Little Red Riding Hood feel to them.
But this raises the question: is Melania Little Red Riding Hood or the wolf?
Melania has been a deeply polarizing figure since she entered office — an unavoidable fact due to her close relationship with one of the most polarizing figures of all time, Donald Trump. Early on, she was viewed as a victim, and the Free Melania movement took hold as people wondered if she was trapped like a princess in Bluebeard's castle, caged by her husband's endless greed.
Melania Trump among her infamous red christmas trees
People empathized with her, wondering if she had just married Trump to get a sugar daddy and had been thrown into this political mess by no choice of her own, if she had wanted any of this at all. And in some ways, it is kind of unfair that she has been so heavily criticized for decorating for a capitalist holiday that she doesn't care about.
But Melania has never been an innocent prisoner. She defended birtherism on The View. She said that she thought children in detention centers were "taken care of nicely there." More evidence surfaced: In a 1999 interview, when Trump ran for president, Melania said she hoped to be the next Jackie Kennedy. A biography called "Free, Melania" exposed holes in Melania's story, finding her to be "a cold, determined woman" who is "practiced in deception, deeply attached to splendor, seemingly unconcerned by racism, oblivious to the suffering of the working people from whose ranks she flew, and instinctive about bolstering male power."
Through it all, she never really seemed to care about much. On another occasion, she made waves when she wore that infamous jacket that read, "I really don't care do U"?
Still, none of that can really explain the macabre feeling that comes over me when I see Melania's Christmases.
Perhaps her White House Christmases are haunting because they are so clearly born out of a sense of apathy — a sense of totally sterilized, icy separateness from the rest of the world. This apathy might be admirable, in a sort of punk-rock way, if Melania wasn't part of a team of people that is literally responsible for managing other humans and running America.
Melania's husband's responses to COVID-19 (and to almost every issue of his presidency) resemble Melania's Christmas decorations – in that they are full of apathy, far removed from meaning, and warmth and devoid of love. In addition, perhaps Melania's Christmases are so chilling because of the fact that they were part of an administration that has been so traumatizing, so utterly damaging, and so unbelievably tragic that it's impossible to extricate their cold glamour from the broken promises and shattered ravages of the Trump administration.
As many of us spend Christmas away from our families, scared and unsafe in a broken nation, perhaps our greatest fear has come true: Melania's Christmas spirit has crept out of the White House and across America, separating and dividing us, stripping us of our joy.
Let's just hope that next year, we'll have less of a f*** Christmas and more of a "Let's party all night with all our best friends because we finally have a vaccine" kind of holiday week. Until then, I'll be staring at these decorations and wondering where it went so wrong.
Melania TrumpThe Cut