Breaking a longstanding tradition in State of the Union addresses, first lady Melania Trump opted to ride with the guests she invited to her first lady’s box instead of riding together with her husband Donald Trump.
Although the president and the first lady arrived at the Capitol building in the same motorcade from the White House, they did so in separate cars. In contrast, former presidents Barrack Obama and George W. Bush both rode with their respective partners, Michelle Obama and Laura Bush, for each of their combined 16 State of the Union addresses.
Melania appeared at the Capitol just one minute before the event’s scheduled start. She was met with a standing ovation from the Congress and guests, before taking her seat at the traditional first lady’s box.
The first lady wore a cream pantsuit from French fashion label Christian Dior and a white silk blouse from Italian designer brand Dolce & Gabbana. Her outfit coincidentally matched the all-white outfits that Democrats wore in protest during the president’s first address to the Congress last year.
Melania sat together with guests that she called an “honorable group,” which included New Mexico police Officer Ryan Holets, who adopted the baby of an opioid-addicted mother, and 12-year old Preston Sharp, who organized an effort to place 40,000 flags and flowers at the graves of fallen soldiers.
According to Stephanie Grisham, the first lady’s communications director, Melania opted to ride to the event with her guests in order to honor them as the true heroes they are.
“In addition to holding a White House reception and photo opportunity for them, along with their friends and family, she is accompanying them to the Capitol,” said Grisham.
The State of the Union comes at a reportedly rough time in the marriage of the Trumps. She was reportedly blindsided by the recent report about her husband’s affair with pornographic actress Stormy Daniels.
Recently, Melania has cancelled her trip to Davos, Switzerland, where her husband spoke at the World Economic Forum. Donald and Melania have not been seen together publicly since the New Year.