Melania Trump stays mum on Mar-a-Lago quest while promoting NFT business
“I just learned that agents searched the first lady’s closets and ransacked her clothing and personal belongings. Surprisingly, they left the area in a relative mess. Wow!” Trump posted on Truth Social.
“She cared, but not like him,” said a person familiar with the former first lady’s response.
The FBI was in her bedroom, her closets, and her bathroom, a little too close to her independent orbit. But the former first lady was not provoked enough to make a public statement about the search or its findings. Instead, her public statements — via her Twitter account — have focused on her most obvious passion since leaving Washington: NFTs.
CNN repeatedly asked Trump for comment on this story and received no response.
“She is private and protective of her son and home,” added the second person.
The warrant specifically described the rooms and areas the agents could search and included all rooms the former president frequents, says a person familiar with the details of the warrant’s execution. The Trumps have separate bedrooms in their 3,500 square feet in Mar-a-Lago, three people familiar with the floorplan tell CNN, but Melania Trump’s bedroom and closets are a short hallway from the former president’s dormitories and home office.
Though she was irritated and annoyed by strangers sifting through her curated and expensive collection of dresses, shoes and bags, those who know her say she was — and remains — characteristically quiet.
“Why would she say anything?” says a person familiar with Trump’s longstanding tight-lipped communications strategy. “She thinks if she’s quiet it’ll just go away,” says this person.
Among Trump’s few public sightings is a visit to a hair salon in Manhattan.
The coolness also stems from a basic certainty that Donald Trump’s possessions, however obtained, would not be found in her bedroom or closet.
“She would never allow him to keep his stuff in her room and he honestly would never ask,” says one of the people.
“[Melania Trump]has always thought about what Donald does to be apart from her,” says another person who has known the Trumps for several years. “Decisions he makes about his business are his decisions, not theirs.”
The former first lady continues to focus on NFTs
The business of being a former President of the United States who stays in the headlines has been on Donald Trump’s mind. As focused as he’s been for the past year and a half — as a Republican kingmaker or defense against investigations — Melania Trump’s life after the White House was less well known.
Of the roughly 50 tweets Trump has posted since mid-February, nearly half have been retweets from USA Memorabilia’s Twitter accounts, which have fewer than 500 followers, or their own tweets, clogging the NFTs on the site.
“It’s strange,” says a former Trump adviser of the former First Lady’s sponsorship of a for-profit corporation. “To be blunt enough to make money selling USA-themed collectibles.”
Two people familiar with Trump’s foray into NFTs say she has recently been advised by Marc Beckman, a longtime friend and husband of fashion designer Alice Roi, who designed a handful of outfits for Trump during her tenure as First Lady. Beckman has run a marketing and branding agency for many years, but has recently turned to the cryptocurrency world, trying to capitalize on the new era of technology-based collectibles. Beckman published a book called The Comprehensive Guide to NFTs, Digital Artwork, and Blockchain Technology in 2021.
Several attempts to reach Beckman via CNN were unsuccessful.
The collections published on the company’s website are pro-government themes such as the National Parks Collection, the Valor Collection – which focuses on branches of the US military – and the POTUS Trump Collection, which are NFTs of various moments in the Trump president’s history .
An NFT in the latter collection — each priced at $50 — is the former first pair featuring a digitally waving American flag and Mt. Rushmore in the background; another, the “45 First Lady NFT,” features Melania Trump and Donald Trump in tuxedos, an official photo from their White House days that will be used as their 2020 Christmas card.
Although USA Memorabilia NFTs profits are not publicly available — and attempts by CNN to obtain this information from the firm have been unsuccessful — the former first lady continues to encourage sales through social media.
“It is very unusual for a former First Lady not to exercise her enduring power and prestige after leaving office. But I’ve learned that trying to make sense of what Melania is doing is a losing game,” says Kate Andersen Brower. CNN contributor and author of The Residence and First Women: The Grace and Power of America’s Modern First Ladies.
Charitable component of NFT sales still unclear
Also not mentioned in Trump’s tweets promoting US memorabilia, the most recent of which was Monday, is a charitable component the former first lady touted back in December last year when she first launched her entrepreneurial venture in the field Blockchain sales announced $150 worth of digital image of her eyes.
Trump said the sale would inspire “engagement with children through my Be Best initiative” and that the profits would provide computer skills to children who have aged out of the care system. However, despite repeated requests for clarity from CNN over several months, no delineation of the share of the proceeds was disclosed, nor was confirmation from organizations that would receive the funds raised.
In a May interview with Fox, Trump said she will award grants from an initiative she calls “Fostering the Future,” but so far only one grant has been publicly awarded, details of which have not been publicly disclosed.
“As it is in office, there is no rule book for how much or how little (a former First Lady) should do. Every woman has a different approach,” Brower said of Trump’s unorthodox business model.
First ladies receive no government funding to set up large offices after leaving the White House, and after her husband dies, they receive a meager pension of $20,000 a year. Several of the people CNN spoke to for this story speculated that Trump is trying to start a business separate from that of her husband, who is currently embroiled in multiple legal entanglements.
“I would imagine that as a wife and mother of his child, she would have to worry[about the future],” says the person who has known Trump for many years. “She might at least be a little worried about how her own life is going to change.”
With one of the largest public platforms in the world, it’s difficult to understand why Trump would support a little-known digital memorabilia company when, perhaps like its recent predecessors, it could build initiatives with global impact. To that end, any of the people who know Trump and discussed her recent activities with CNN were stunned.
“To sum it up, I think it’s a missed opportunity for a former first lady not to remain relevant,” Brower said.
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