It’s goodbye on the downside for Melania Trump. Her popularity has never been able to soar, and it had bottomed out when she left the White House. She is the least popular first lady of the decades.
Traditionally, first ladies are admired. Unlike their husbands, they are unelected and normally uncontroversial. It’s hard to be unpopular. But this kite apparently does not apply to Melania Trump.
Much has been written about her husband Donald Trump’s historically low popularity score upon his departure. But the blot on the Trump brand thus extends beyond the president.
In a poll by CNN, Melania gets approval of only 42 percent. In recent history, no other first ladies have recorded such a low score. The only one who came anywhere close was Hillary Clinton. At the time, she obtained the approval of 52 percent.
Melania Trump has never been very involved in the goings-on at the White House. She wasn’t usually that visible, at least to most Americans. It’s not entirely clear to what extent her husband’s bad rating has cast a shadow on her popularity.
She has had her moments that have been negatively assessed on social media, and she and her husband have broken with tradition by not welcoming the Biden family to the White House.
She found her time as first lady unforgettable: “It has been the greatest honor of my life to serve as the first lady of the United States,” said a video message. But a majority of the American population sees this differently.
On average, American first ladies achieve a score of 70 percent. Laura Bush and Michelle Obama could also count on such a high score – with Barbara Bush in 1993 as an exception, which attracted no less than 85 percent of the respondents.
The new first lady, Jill Biden, is unlikely to break Barbara Bush’s record score, CNN expects. She can currently count on approval of 58 percent. But Jill Biden has four more years to boost that score.