‘Annoyed’ Melania Trump stays mum on Mar-a-Lago search as she promotes NFT business



CNN

Shortly after the FBI raided his Mar-a-Lago home earlier this month, former President Donald Trump fumed on social media about officers rummaging through his wife’s clothing and personal items. .

“I have just learned that officers searched the First Lady’s closets and searched her clothes and personal effects. Surprisingly, the area left in a relative mess. Wow!” Trump posted on Truth Social.

He was much angrier — angry exclamation mark — than Melania Trump, according to five people who spoke to CNN about Melania Trump’s recent activities on condition of anonymity to protect personal and professional relationships.

“She cared, but not the way he cared,” said a person familiar with the former first lady’s response.

“It annoyed her,” said another person from the search, who noted that it was the invasion of her privacy that had made her upset – not the nature of the investigation that triggered the search, or what it meant, or could possibly come to mean, legally, for her husband.

With the Feds in his bedroom, his closets and bathroom skirted his independent orbit a little too closely. But the former first lady was not provoked enough to make a public statement about the research or what it revealed. Instead, his public statements — via his Twitter account — have focused on his most apparent passion since leaving Washington: NFTs.

CNN has contacted Trump multiple times to comment on this story and has not received a response.

“She is private and she is protecting her son and her home,” the second person added.

The warrant was explicit about rooms and areas officers could search, and it included any space frequented by the former president, a person familiar with the details of the warrant’s execution said. The Trumps have separate bedrooms in their 3,500 square feet at Mar-a-Lago, three people familiar with the layout told CNN, but Melania Trump’s bedroom and closets are just down a small hallway from the former president’s dorms and home office.

Although upset and annoyed that strangers browsed her curated and expensive collection of clothes, shoes and bags, say those who know her, she was – and remains – typically quiet.

“Why would she say anything?” said a person familiar with Trump’s longtime taciturn communications strategy. “Her thinking is that if she’s calm, it’ll just go away,” this person says.

Trump’s few recent public sightings include a visit to a Manhattan barber shop.

The freshness also stems from a basic certainty that Donald Trump’s belongings, whatever their form, would not end up in his bedroom or closet.

“She would never allow him to keep his things in his room, and he would honestly never ask her,” one of the people said.

“(Melania Trump) has always considered what Donald is doing to be separated from her,” says another person who has known the Trumps for several years. “The decisions he makes about his business are his decisions, not his.”

The business of being a former president of the United States who stays in the headlines has kept Donald Trump busy. As focused as he has been over the past year and a half — as a Republican kingmaker or fending off investigations — Melania Trump’s life after the White House has been less publicized.

Although out of public view, Trump has since earlier this year paid particular attention to a company called USA Memorabilia, using his Twitter platform – it has a personal account with 2 million followers and an “official” office account. with 124,000 followers – to promote NFTs created and sold by USA Memorabilia.

Of the 50 or so tweets Trump has posted since mid-February, nearly half have been retweets of those posted by USA Memorabilia’s Twitter account, which has fewer than 500 followers, or his own tweets plugging NFTs into the site.

“It’s weird,” says a former Trump adviser of the former first lady’s promotion of a for-profit company. “For being so blatant about making money with USA-themed collectibles.”

Melania Trump sells digital painting of her eyes (2021)

Two people familiar with Trump’s foray into NFTs say she was advised recently by Marc Beckman, a longtime friend and husband of fashion designer Alice Roi, who designed a handful of outfits for Trump during her term as first lady. Beckman has run a marketing and branding agency for many years, but has recently turned to the world of cryptocurrencies and how to take advantage of the new era of tech-based collectibles. Beckman published a book in 2021 called “The Complete Guide to NFTs, Digital Artwork and Blockchain Technology”.

Several attempts to reach Beckman through CNN were unsuccessful.

There is no identifiable outward connection between USA Memorabilia and the former first lady, but the only two accounts followed by the Twitter account are hers, and the majority of items sold feature Melania Trump or her husband. Several attempts by CNN to contact representatives of USA Memorabilia went unanswered.

The collections published on the company’s website are government-adjacent subjects such as the National Parks Collection, the Valor Collection – focused on branches of the US military – and the POTUS Trump Collection, which are NFTs of various moments in Trump’s presidential history.

An NFT in this latest collection — each of which costs $50 — is of the former first couple with a digitally waving American flag and Mount Rushmore in the background; another, the “45 First Lady NFT,” features Melania Trump and Donald Trump wearing tuxedos, an official photograph from their time in the White House, used as a 2020 greeting card.

Although USA Memorabilia NFT earnings are not publicly available – and CNN’s attempts to obtain such information from the company have failed – the former first lady continues to promote sales via social media.

“It’s very unusual for a former first lady not to take advantage of her power and prestige after leaving office. But I’ve learned that it’s a losing game trying to make sense of what Melania,” says Kate Andersen Brower, CNN contributor and author of “The Residence” and “First Women: The Grace and Power of America’s Modern First Ladies.”

Also not mentioned on Trump’s tweets promoting USA Memorabilia, the most recent of which was on Monday, is a charitable item the former first lady touted in December last year, when she announced for the first time his entrepreneurial venture into blockchain sales with a $150 digital image. of his eyes.

Trump said the sales would drive a “commitment to children through my Be Best initiative” and the proceeds would provide computer skills to children who had aged out of the foster care system. However, no delineation of the revenue share or confirmation of which organizations would receive the funds raised have been announced, despite CNN’s repeated requests for several months for clarity.

In a May interview with Fox, Trump said she would award scholarships under an initiative she calls “Fostering the Future,” but only one scholarship has been awarded publicly so far, details of which have not been made public.

“Just as it is in the office, there is no rule for how much or how little (a former first lady) should do. Every woman approached it differently,” Brower said of Trump’s unorthodox business model.

First ladies do not receive government money to establish large offices after leaving the White House, and after the death of their husbands they receive a meager pension of $20,000 a year. Several of the people CNN spoke to for this story speculated that Trump was trying to set up a separate business from those of her husband, who is currently mired in several legal entanglements.

“I imagine that as a wife and mother of her child, she must be worried (for the future)”, confides the one who has known Trump for many years. “She might at least be a little worried about how her own life will change.”

With one of the largest public platforms in the world, it’s hard to see why Trump is backing a little-known digital memories company, when – perhaps like its recent predecessors – it could be setting up global influence initiatives. . To that effect, everyone who knows Trump and has discussed his recent activities with CNN has been left baffled.

“To sum up, I think this is a lost opportunity for a former first lady to not stay relevant,” Brower said.

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