The White House is a "fish bowl," former first lady Michelle Obama used to say. So it's no surprise that the focus on her successor's marriage has been been magnified, with news reports scrutinizing everything from the way President Donald and first lady Melania Trump hold hands, to speculation about how Melania must be feeling as story after story of her husband's alleged affairs break (the president has denied these affairs). Through it all, it's interesting to look back and remember something: Some of the most notable Melania Trump quotes about Donald have indicated that she wants no one to feel bad about her marriage.
Consider an interview she had at the height of the presidential campaign's most dramatic period. During an interview in October 2016, after THE Access Hollywood tape was released, and amid multiple breaking stories of alleged sexual harassment against her husband, Melania told CNN's Anderson Cooper, "People, they don’t really know me. People think and talk about me like, 'Oh, poor Melania.' Don’t feel sorry for me. I can handle everything."
President Trump has long maintained that the stories of harassment that broke during the campaign are all false, and he has denied more recent allegations of alleged affairs. He also apologized for the Access Hollywood tape.
During the interview, though she expressed disappointment in the tape, Melania resolutely defended Trump, arguing that Trump was "egged on" to making comments about "grabbing" women wherever he wants.
Of course, it's not exactly a rarity for the people closest to men who are accused of harassment to defend those same men. So, the fact that Melania would say something like "don't feel sorry for me" isn't exactly definitive proof that she's happy in spite of the amount unflattering stories about her husband that get reported.
Still, at a time when there's speculation about Melania being "miserable" at the White House — specifically after Stormy Daniels became a consistent news topic — it's worth nothing that Melania herself has long talked about how she's accepting of the way Trump is, and not only during that 2016 interview when there was a need to relief pressure on the then-candidate.
During an interview with Parenting Magazine in 2015, Melania talked about how she's never wanted to change Trump.
My life is very normal — for me. Maybe for some people they would not think that. But for me it is ... I think the mistake some people make is they try to change the man they love after they get married. You cannot change a person. You accept the person ... If you need to change someone it will never work. You will try your whole life and never succeed.
The first lady has a history of repeating that same point consistently, telling multiple interviewers that she and her husband live "independent" lives, and that they have no need to change to accommodate each other.
"We have a great relationship," Melania told Morning Joe in February 2016. "We are own people. I’m my own person. He’s his own person. And I think that’s very important. I don’t want to change him. He doesn’t want to change me."
Even as far back as 2005, Melania would insist upon that same point, while both she and Donald have always said that they give each other space. "I don’t want to say come home and be with me. I don’t want to change him," Melania told Larry King shortly after she married Donald Trump. "I want to give him space and I think thats very important in the relationship."
What they each decide to do with that space — and whether either of them is all to bothered about it — will probably remain a mystery.