Photographs of Melania Trump in her first White House appearance after the inauguration have captured national attention.
The first lady joined her husband, President Donald Trump, on Feb. 15 in welcoming Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, to the White House when the photos were taken, the Daily Mail reports.
After exchanging pleasantries, the couples smiled and posed before heading to a press conference, where Melania took her seat next to stepdaughter Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner.
Yet while the pictures seem normal, there may be more going on than meet the eye.
The fact that Ivanka and Melania barely spoke to each other at the event adds to current speculation about the first lady and her roles both politically and with Ivanka. Some wonder if she even has a role — or if Ivanka has taken her place.
These rumors linger despite the fact that, in public, Ivanka has spoken highly of Melania, People magazine reports.
“Melania is very smart, she’s very warm, she’s got an incredible heart,” Ivanka said. “She’s always been very charitable and there are many organizations that she’s worked with. Not just for a season but over the course of many years and decades in some cases.”
Many, though, speculate if the two truly get along, given how close Ivanka is to her father and Melania’s relative silence about Ivanka.
What’s more, it is widely speculated that there are deeper reasons Ivanka so often outshines Melania, both personally and politically.
“The Trump family embodies a very old sexist hypocrisy: Men who want one thing for their wives and another for their children,” argues Jill Filipovic for The New York Times.
“And like Mr. Trump praising his daughter’s business acumen, men want different things in their wives than in their daughters,” she adds. “Changing gender roles look less threatening when it’s their children who benefit.”
However, Ivanka denies these kind of observations, stating she is not trying to take Melania’s place, Vanity Fair reports.
“I think it’s an inappropriate observation,” she said. “There is one First Lady, and she’ll do remarkable things.”
Sources: Daily Mail, People, Vanity Fair, The New York Times / Photo credit: Ivanka Trump /Facebook