Melania Trump Tries to Emulate Jackie Kennedy—It’s Not Working

The Trump administration’s most lasting legacy may be its consistent promotion of false, sometimes dangerous, and often inaccurate information and theories. One incorrect narrative the White House is puzzlingly insistent and adamant about? That First Lady Melania Trump is the second-coming of the legendary Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis; that she embodies the same elegance and importance as a presidential buttress that Jackie-O did in the ’60s.

It’s not a totally out-of-left-field comparison. Long before Melania entered the White House, she expressed a desire to be compared to Jackie. During a 1999 interview with the Times, when Melania was just dating Donald Trump, the then-model revealed her First Lady aspirations: “I would be very traditional. Like Betty Ford or Jackie Kennedy.” She’s tried (and succeeded) several times to emulate them, fashion-wise at least.

For her husband’s inauguration day, the current FLOTUS donned a powder blue cashmere Ralph Lauren dress and long gloves. Media and fashion critics compared the look to the Cassini beige coat dress and long white gloves Jackie wore when John F. Kennedy was inaugurated in 1961. And last summer, on her husband’s birthday, Melania was spotted exiting Air Force One wearing a baby blue Hermes scarf and oversized sunglasses that could’ve been taken straight out of Jackie’s style playbook—a playbook that was filled with statement-defining pieces that propelled her to fashion royalty.


(Image credit: Leonard McCombe)


(Image credit: Pool)

But what Melania, Donald Trump, and his administration fail to recognize is that Jackie was far more than her iconic style. Her clothes were an extension of her character. Jackie Kennedy’s artistic roots—she studied history, literature, art, and French at Vassar College and spent time studying abroad in Paris—infused her fashion with meaning. She even had firsthand experience presenting visual stories to audiences: from 1951 to 1953, Jackie worked as a camera girl for the Washington Times Herald.

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