Melania Trump keeps West Wing palace intrigue at a distance, source says
Posted July 12
While the West Wing continues to be a hotbed of drama and plot-twists, over in the East Wing, the first lady is not only staying above the fray -- she's tired of being tied to it.
A White House source knowledgeable of Melania Trump's thinking on the subject told CNN Wednesday that the first lady is "borderline irritated" that anyone would believe or imply that she interferes with staffing in her husband's administration.
The reaction was prompted by media reports Tuesday that Melania Trump, alongside Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, was attempting to sway President Donald Trump toward a staff shakeup, specifically one removing chief of staff Reince Priebus. The first lady, said the source, is consumed with her own initiatives, and palace intrigue is not something she bothers with.
The White House has been upended by Donald Trump Jr.'s admission met with a woman he was told was "a Russian government attorney," according to emails he released, months before the election in hopes of obtaining damaging information on Hillary Clinton's campaign.
And while Melania Trump has sympathy for the situation that Trump Jr. finds himself embroiled in this week, the source said, delving into the deeper psyche of what this latest issue means for the staff of the West Wing is beneath the first lady's realm of concern.
"She has more important things to do," said the source.
That's not to say the first lady doesn't weigh in with advice and counsel to her husband, which Melania Trump's communications director has confirmed she does with regularity.
In turn, the President shares with the first lady some of the policy and strategy of his day-to-day world. For example, as recently as last week at the G20 Summit, when Melania Trump sat in on a bilateral meeting with the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Asked why the first lady was present, spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham told CNN: "The President asked her to attend, which he often does for many meetings and events."
However, whether he asks or not, says the source, providing pivotal input as to who should stay, or go, in the West Wing roster, is not in her wheelhouse, nor is meeting alone with Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, whose official adviser roles are removed from the first lady's.