A taut, coiffed Melania Trump appeared with her husband at the 2019 Congressional Ball last night. Though she was standing completely still in her white cape next to the president as he delivered on his remarks to guests, a ghost at the feast, the First Lady’s presence was undeniably memorable. She was able to take us on a fascinating, inscrutable journey just the same. With her facial expressions.
It wasn’t clear that Melania was even hearing Donald Trump’s speech about how “our country is really great” as she nodded listlessly out into the crowd, Her lips turned up to show her teeth at regular intervals, like someone had set her smile timer to go off every so often but had forgotten to enable the function that sustains it.
In between these bursts of cheerfulness, her bronzed brow furrowed slightly, her mouth set into a grimace, into a kind of grave confusion. These seemed to be glimpses of her true cognitive state, fleeting windows into a subconscious plagued by … something.
But what? Was she no longer filled with quiet joy by the holiday decorations behind her, which she had worked tirelessly, toiling in the sun of the warm summer months, to perfect?
Perhaps she was distracted by her other projects, like fixing up the White House tennis pavilion, or that other thing about helping children stop from using those tiny, cloud-spewing sticks. What are they called again?
Eventually she seemed to recall where she was, jolted into consciousness by some neurological spark, and turned to face the strange man who was talking to the audience.
Although Trump went on to thank Melania later in his speech, for her dedication to the twinkly lights and bows, we will never know how she reacted to his praise, because the White House cut her out entirely from the video they shared. We are simply left to ponder her eternal mysteries.