First lady Melania Trump will watch "any channel she wants," according to her spokeswoman in an apparent rebuke to the report President Donald Trump was upset to find her Air Force One television tuned into CNN.
East Wing communications director Stephanie Grisham told CNN Wednesday everyone should be focusing on the issues the first lady is seeking to highlight, such as neonatal abstinence syndrome, rather than what television channel she's watching or a tape of her husband discussing a payout to a woman who claims to have had an extramarital affair with him.
"Did you know that every 15 minutes a baby is born with NAS? Maybe you'd like to talk about the 160,000 kids who skip school every day for fear of being bullied, or that 280,000 students are physically attacked in schools every month," Grisham said. "Seems kind of silly to worry about what channel she watches on TV (any channel she wants btw) or if she heard some recording on the news."
The comment about which channel Melania Trump watches on television is a response to a New York Times story that indicated the President was upset that his wife had CNN playing on Air Force One when the two were traveling last week.
The first lady's independent streak is not new and has become something of a calling card. Melania Trump has done everything from take a separate motorcade to the President's State of the Union address to sidestep a public walk to the presidential helicopter in February, shortly after news broke of her husband's alleged infidelity with a former Playboy playmate. Melania Trump opted to be driven to Joint Base Andrews instead of sharing a ride with her husband on Marine One.
The first lady also doesn't succumb to the pressures of what "normally" should happen with first lady behavior. For instance, after a surprise medical procedure in May sidelined her for several weeks, Trump ignored mounting pressure from the media to make an appearance or a statement, in order to stem the growing rumors about her health. She ultimately remained out of the public eye for more than 24 days.
And while the actual language of her fiery responses often come via Grisham, there is no question Trump has given the nod to her spokeswoman's statements.
Take Grisham's counter last month to comments made by Rudy Giuliani. The President's lawyer stated the first lady "believes her husband," in regards to allegations he had an affair with porn actress Stormy Daniels.
"[The first lady] knows it's untrue," said Giuliani during a public speaking engagement in Israel.
Grisham responded: "I don't believe Mrs. Trump has ever discussed her thoughts on anything with Mr. Giuliani."
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