CNN poll: Melania's favorability plummets

Melania Trump's favorable rating has fallen by double-digits, according to a new CNN poll. The first lady, whose favorability stood at 54% in October, has slipped to 43% in just two months.

Posted: Dec 14, 2018 8:25 AM
Updated: Dec 14, 2018 8:38 AM

In a rare interview Wednesday night Melania Trump proved that she doesn't understand what it means to be first lady.

She told Fox News's Sean Hannity that "opportunists who are using my name" are the hardest part of being first lady, again making the job about herself and her family instead of taking the opportunity to talk about the challenges she sees other people facing.

She reserved her harshest words for the media, her husband's favorite punching bag. The biggest challenge she faces as first lady, she said, is from "comedians to journalists to performers, book writers."

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?

If so, that is a big problem.

When Hannity asked if the criticism "hurt" her, she said, "It doesn't hurt. The problem is they're writing history and it's not correct."

The entire moment was a lost opportunity to put attention on the families of struggling Americans she's met in her role as first lady, especially since she spent time the very next day reading to children at Children's National Hospital, some sitting in wheelchairs with IVs attached. And the Hannity interview took place on USS George H.W. Bush, a trip the first lady made to support members of the military and their families.

Wouldn't it have been heartening to hear her use that moment during the interview to talk about the women and babies she's met struggling with opioid addiction, or the children who she has met as part of her "Be Best" campaign who have been bullied at school, or the people whose homes were destroyed in the California fires?

Unfortunately, there are no shortages of tragedies and shortcomings to cite. Anything but another pity party would have been nice -- and could have been expected from any other first lady in recent memory, all of whom, regardless of party, understood the incredible opportunities that accompany the sometimes-frustrating position.

We are getting to know Melania Trump more and more the longer her husband is in office, and it seems that many people are not liking what they see. According to a CNN poll out Thursday, Melania's favorable rating has fallen off a cliff. She now stands at 43% favorability, down 11 points from 54% in CNN's last polling just two months ago. Her unfavorable rating is also up six points to 36%.

The last time her public favorability rating was this low was in January 2017, before her husband's inauguration and before we knew her at all. The illusion that she was in some way a mollifying voice in this White House has been largely dispelled.

In the past couple of months, with the ABC interview in which she asserted that she is "the most bullied person" in the world and during her October trip to Egypt when she spoke about the #MeToo movement and said that although she stands with women, they need to present "really hard evidence," there is less and less separation between the first lady and the president (and that is what's causing her polling numbers to drop precipitously).

Recall that Melania said her decision to wear that now-infamous jacket while visiting migrant children at the Texas-Mexico border with the message "I really don't care. Do u?" was actually a message to the press, whom she detests. It was small, it was petty and it was not worthy of a first lady of the United States.

Being first lady is no easy task, admittedly. No modern first lady would deny the challenges and isolation that accompany the undefined role: There is no pay, no mention of it in the Constitution and endless scrutiny. At a 2013 summit in Africa Laura Bush and Michelle Obama talked about those challenges. "There are prisonlike elements, but it's a really nice prison," Obama said of the White House. "You can't complain."

All modern first ladies can relate to being frustrated with the press over their preoccupation with superficial things, including the way they cut their hair or what they choose to wear, but Melania has clouded the profound responsibility and honor of the position with her own personal resentment.

"People are sorting through our shoes and our hair ... whether we cut it or not," Michelle Obama said at the 2013 summit. "We take our bangs [she had just had bangs cut] and we stand in front of important things the world needs to see. And eventually, people stop looking at the bangs, and start looking at the things we're standing in front of. That's the power of our role."

That power is real and should be recognized and used to help those less fortunate, as has been done by previous first ladies.

Decades earlier, when a residence staffer's child was born with a disability, Mamie Eisenhower asked the mother and child to move into the White House. In a June 18, 1990, letter from first lady Barbara Bush to former first lady Betty Ford, Bush alludes to the two of them working together to help a young girl be reunited with her family.

When Lady Bird Johnson found out that a butler's wife was battling cancer, she called two of the top oncologists in New York and that same day they landed at Washington's National Airport to examine her. Before a trip to Korea, Nancy Reagan was told about two Korean children who badly needed heart surgery. Reagan started working the phones, and by the time the Reagans were flying back home on Air Force One, they had asked some staff to fly commercial so that the children could fly back with them and have surgery in the US. The son of one White House butler said it best: "The first lady can pick up the telephone and change your life."

I hope Melania realizes soon that her own personal challenges are nothing compared to the incredible opportunity she has to make a difference and "be best."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 307332

Reported Deaths: 7095
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto20757248
Hinds19869408
Harrison17475302
Rankin13307275
Jackson13095243
Madison9886210
Lee9854169
Jones8289160
Forrest7522146
Lauderdale7185237
Lowndes6261144
Lamar610284
Lafayette6026117
Washington5279132
Bolivar4769129
Oktibbeha455297
Panola4440103
Pearl River4418139
Warren4277118
Marshall4267100
Pontotoc416472
Monroe4056132
Union403575
Neshoba3984176
Lincoln3869107
Hancock371985
Leflore3468124
Sunflower329389
Tate322681
Pike3177104
Scott310472
Yazoo304268
Alcorn297664
Itawamba296776
Copiah292965
Coahoma289677
Simpson287484
Tippah284668
Prentiss275659
Marion265679
Wayne261341
Leake260973
Grenada254882
Covington254380
Adams245882
Newton244859
George237647
Winston225981
Tishomingo222067
Jasper219748
Attala213273
Chickasaw204857
Holmes186471
Clay182354
Stone179131
Clarke176676
Tallahatchie175240
Calhoun163130
Yalobusha158636
Smith158534
Walthall130543
Greene129433
Lawrence126223
Noxubee125833
Montgomery125542
Perry125138
Carroll120826
Amite119941
Webster113432
Jefferson Davis105332
Tunica102525
Claiborne101330
Benton97225
Kemper95126
Humphreys94332
Franklin81723
Quitman78916
Choctaw72817
Jefferson64828
Wilkinson64727
Sharkey49617
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 518588

Reported Deaths: 10712
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson753351487
Mobile37698798
Madison33829494
Tuscaloosa25245443
Montgomery23942565
Shelby23094238
Baldwin20617300
Lee15510165
Calhoun14277311
Morgan14137268
Etowah13660345
Marshall11952219
Houston10379278
Elmore9988200
Limestone9806147
Cullman9467188
St. Clair9422234
Lauderdale9208227
DeKalb8745181
Talladega8042171
Walker7087275
Jackson6753110
Autauga6715103
Blount6480135
Colbert6200130
Coffee5397112
Dale4766110
Russell428238
Franklin419882
Chilton4080109
Covington4053114
Tallapoosa3892146
Escambia387574
Dallas3526149
Chambers3499122
Clarke346360
Marion3065100
Pike305475
Lawrence295295
Winston272272
Bibb256258
Marengo248561
Geneva245875
Pickens232959
Barbour224755
Hale218675
Butler212266
Fayette208960
Henry187844
Cherokee182044
Randolph176741
Monroe171240
Washington163838
Macon154348
Clay149354
Crenshaw149257
Cleburne146041
Lamar139234
Lowndes136453
Wilcox124327
Bullock121340
Conecuh109028
Perry107926
Sumter102932
Coosa99228
Greene90734
Choctaw58624
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