UK markets open in 5 hours 46 minutes
  • NIKKEI 225

    29,426.45
    -741.82 (-2.46%)
     
  • HANG SENG

    29,399.66
    -674.51 (-2.24%)
     
  • CRUDE OIL

    63.31
    -0.22 (-0.35%)
     
  • GOLD FUTURES

    1,769.00
    -6.40 (-0.36%)
     
  • DOW

    31,402.01
    -559.85 (-1.75%)
     
  • BTC-GBP

    33,385.42
    -2,986.44 (-8.21%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    932.75
    -61.91 (-6.22%)
     
  • ^IXIC

    13,119.43
    -478.54 (-3.52%)
     
  • ^FTAS

    3,788.74
    -6.32 (-0.17%)
     

Melania Trump's photo snub prompts speculation over post-White House path

Martin Pengelly in New York
·2-min read
<span>Photograph: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP</span>
Photograph: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

One last time, the internet has run wild over viral video of first lady Melania Trump apparently spurning the conventions of her role, triggering speculation about the state of her marriage to the now former president.

Related: House will send article of impeachment against Trump to Senate on Monday – live

Many social media users revelled in footage shot at Palm Beach airport on Wednesday, after Donald Trump left the White House to be succeeded by Joe Biden, the man who beat him by more than 7m votes and 306-232 in the electoral college.

Trump himself paused to wave at photographers but his wife, in dark glasses and a striking print dress, continued walking, deadpan, until she was firmly offscreen, leaving her husband alone.

“If ‘ain’t got to do this shit anymore’ was a person” was the biting verdict of one user who posted the footage of Melania apparently at last on the way to life as a golf widow and – she seemed to a watching world to hope – relative obscurity, out of the public spotlight.

Ever since Donald Trump entered the Republican primary in summer 2015, speculation over his wife’s view of him – and her role as first lady – has run rampant. The Trumps were reported to keep separate White House bedrooms, their actions in public frantically parsed for clues to the state of the marriage, the 45th president’s third.

Like his other marriages, it was dogged by allegations of infidelity. He denied such claims but confirmed payments to a porn star and a Playboy model. The marriage was also prey to stories about Melania’s nude modeling past, which included photographs reportedly leaked to the press by Roger Stone, with her husband’s knowledge.

In a bestselling book, Melania & Me, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a spurned friend and aide who ended up playing tapes of their conversations to the media, called the marriage “transactional”.

Now, with Donald Trump impeached a second time, vulnerable to prosecution and with his business holdings at risk, the Palm Beach footage only increased speculation over what sort of transactions might be made if Melania sues for divorce.

Jacqueline Newman, managing partner of Berkman Bottger Newman & Rodd, a law firm in New York, told the Daily Mirror: “I’m guessing she will receive actual cash payments as well as properties … she will also retain any assets that are currently in her own name. I would not be surprised if the amounts range between $20m and $50m.

“I think the next year or so will be very telling as to how things will play out with their marriage.”