In the wake of “Mueller Monday” – with the indictments of Paul Manafort and Rick Gates coupled with the guilty plea of George Papadopoulos – we are left wondering who may be indicted next: General Flynn, Carter Page, Roger Stone, Jeff Sessions, Jared Kushner, Donald Jr., or maybe even Melania Trump?
Is it possible that she was recruited by the Russians as an agent while she was modeling in Italy or later when she moved to the United States? Russia – knowing Donald Trump’s penchant for Eastern European women – could have targeted her in either location and lured her in. Once on board with the Russians, Melania could have been planted to attract the attention of Donald Trump. Imagine that Melania – the woman who many people actually feel sorry for in that family – is actually the mastermind (or sinister link) in the Trump/Russia connection. After all, in the context of clandestine affairs, the least obvious player should be the most obvious suspect.
Kim Jong Un is not the only Smart Cookie
Many people underestimate the intelligence of Melania Trump – in part for marrying a man like Donald Trump (wealth aside). I believe she is smarter than people give her credit. Many publicly doubt her fluency in five/six languages. Aside from Slovenian (her native tongue), Melania has demonstrated her fluency in English (a language she may have studied in school and later mastered in the United States). Melania also speaks Serbo-Croatian, which she learned as a consequence of growing up in Slovenia, and German, which perhaps she learned in school or picked up from her parents who reportedly worked in Germany occasionally. French and Italian were learned while working as a model in Paris and Milan. While not necessarily fluent, Melania is at least conversational in the above mentioned languages. Russian is not on the list – of course not. The White House would definitely not want to put that on her resume, even if it was true. However, in the Newsweek article, “Melania Trump Had A Terrible Day in Germany, And Putin And Her Husband Are To Blame,” Cristina Silva claims that Melania does indeed speak Russian. Clearly, Melania is comfortable and proficient in many worlds.
If Melania is so smart, why did she claim on her website to have a degree from the University of Ljubljana when she actually dropped out after a year, and why in the world did she plagiarize elements of Michelle Obama’s 2008 speech at the Democratic National Convention in her speech at the 2016 Republican National Convention? These were too obvious and public of gaffes to expect to go unnoticed. Were they rather just well-planned ploys to have the media and the American people grossly underestimate her? It is not unreasonable to postulate that Melania is the smartest person in a room among Trumps.
Ambition Trumps All
Ultimately, very little is publicly known about Melania Knauss Trump. What we do know is that she comes from a motivated and ambitious family. In communist Yugoslavia, the Knavs/Knauss family lived quite well. During her young life, the family resided in a modest two-bedroom apartment in a Soviet-style complex, but in the early 1980s, the family moved into a spacious two-story home in a suburb of Sevnica called Beverly Hills. Most Slovenians did not have this luxury. Melania’s father Viktor began as a chauffeur and elevated himself to manager of a state-run car and motorcycle dealership. His career rise was a product of his membership in the communist party – note: only 5% of the Slovene population were party members. By all accounts, Viktor Knavs was more of an opportunist than a true believer. Nevertheless, the rewards were huge.
Accounts of young Melania portray her as thoughtful, reserved, and an avid reader. At a young age, she set her sights high and acted on them. Modeling was Melania’s ticket out of Slovenia. Her career began in grade school. Melania’s mother Amalija worked as a pattern-maker for children’s clothing, and Melania and her elder sister Ines modeled the clothing. For their high school years, the family rented an apartment in the Slovenian capital Ljubljana so the daughters could have access to a better education than in their hometown of Sevnica. After graduation, Melania left for better opportunities in Western Europe.
Follow the Money
How would the Russians have recruited Melania as an asset? Internet gossip indicates that Melania’s modeling career was stagnating while in Europe and she continued to struggle following her move to New York. It appears that her career really took off after hooking up with Donald Trump. Melania had limits on what she was willing to do. For example, as the notorious nude art photos demonstrate, Melania was willing to bare it all, but not in any pornographic manner. Similarly, she engaged in consensual sex with Donald Trump, but won a lawsuit against The Daily Mail for $150 million when they falsely accused her of working as an escort. So although money was an issue, Melania was not willing to sell out cheap. Was she expected to send remittances back home to Slovenia to help out her family? Did her father’s connections to the Yugoslavian Communist Party smooth the way for later contact between the Kremlin and his daughter? Or did Melania simply marry Trump for his money?
To be clear, I am not the only person proposing that Melania is potentially a Russian asset, but at the time I first conceived it, I had not seen it posted or published anywhere. When I started googling aspects of this crazy concept, Google “auto-fill” seemed to anticipate my search ideas, which led me to realize that others have entertained similar theories. A couple of very sketchy sites claimed she had already outed herself as a Russian agent last Spring, because going to jail as a traitor is preferable to living with “The Donald.” Ross Douthat wrote an op-ed in the New York Times entitled “The ‘Manchurian’ President?” on May 31, 2017, which referenced “the mounting evidence linking Melania Trump to Kremlin handlers.” In addition, Lev Raphael wrote a satiric piece for HUFFPOST dated August 7, 2016 – updated August 7, 2017, “The Name is Trump, Melania Trump,” which follows a similar trajectory as my supposition. Finally, there appears to be discussion threads devoted to Melania Trump being a Russian agent, but since these sites required registration to view and participate in the discussion, I backed away.
A Deeper Throat
My favorite conspiracy theory turned out not to be true. A former student suggested that attorney, writer, and TV/movie personality Ben Stein was Deep Throat. Infamous for his plain looks and monotone voice – “Bueller, Bueller” – Stein was the neighbor and classmate of Carl Bernstein. That alone means nothing, but Yale Law School Valedictorian Stein was also a speech writer for President Nixon. That knowledge certainly got my attention. When Mark Felt outed himself as Deep Throat, I was truly disappointed.
So is she or isn’t she? Is this a thing or just the crazy fantasy of a retired world history teacher? Time will hopefully tell.