Melania Trump gives first post-White House interview: On her critics, volunteer work, more

"Life is great and [I'm] keeping it busy," the former first lady said.

May 16, 2022, 5:50 PM

In her first sit-down interview since leaving Washington, Melania Trump appeared on Fox News on Sunday where she addressed some of her ongoing work as a former first lady and looked back at her time in the White House -- and what came after.

It was a rare public appearance for Donald Trump's wife, who has eschewed the spotlight since leaving the East Wing, compared to the former president.

"Life is great and [I'm] keeping it busy. And, you know, time flies fast and we are just -- everybody is doing very well," Melania told Pete Hegseth on "Fox & Friends Weekend."

She and her husband relocated to their Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, when his term ended in January 2021 and Melania has kept an even lower profile out of office than while she was first lady, traveling between Trump properties in New Jersey, New York and Florida and spending much of her time with her family and her teenage son, Barron.

Speaking with Hegseth on Sunday, Melania Trump said that she had "enjoyed living in the White House. To be first lady of the United States was my greatest honor." But she said she still bristled at the scrutiny, including when she stirred controversy with some of her fashion choices such as wearing an "I Really Don't Care Do U?" jacket while visiting migrant children in 2018, which she insisted was a message for the media.

PHOTO: Former first lady  Melania and former president Donald Trump look on prior to Game Four of the World Series between the Houston Astros and the Atlanta Braves in Atlanta,  Oct. 30, 2021.
Former first lady Melania and former president Donald Trump look on prior to Game Four of the World Series between the Houston Astros and the Atlanta Braves in Atlanta, Oct. 30, 2021.
Elsa/Getty Images, FILE

In her Fox News interview, Melania dismissed criticism of her as unfair -- responding to a question from Hegseth about why, as a major public figure and former model, she was not on the cover of Vogue while in the White House.

"They're biased and they have likes and dislikes. And it's so obvious," she said. "And I think American people and everyone see it. It was their decision. And I have much more important things to do and I did in the White House than being on the cover of Vogue."

"People I see always criticize me, whatever I do, and I'm used to that," she added. "I move forward and I'm here to helping people. And that is the mission."

Representatives with Vogue did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday. The magazine's editor in chief, Anna Wintour, said in 2019 about covering Melania as first lady that "I think it's important for Vogue to support women who are leading change in this country."

Elsewhere in her "Fox & Friends" interview, Melania talked about her work with children in foster care with a project called Fostering the Future as part of the "BeBest" initiative she started in the White House and has continued.

"Those people who criticize me, I would encourage them to help in their own community or maybe join my Foster the Future initiative," she told Hegseth.

So far, that work has included appearances to foster care organizations in Florida; she said on Fox News that a portion of the money from sales of her burgeoning NFT collection would also "will go towards education, providing education, opportunities for foster care children who are aging out of foster system," though it's unclear how much money will be donated in this way.

Those funds will be supporting scholarships as well, Melania said. One recipient, Michael Weitzman, spoke by phone during Melania's "Fox & Friends" interview and said the support was "literally a dream come true."

PHOTO: Former first lady Melania Trump and former president of the United States Donald Trump attend Game Four of the World Series between the Houston Astros and the Atlanta Braves in Atlanta, Oct. 30, 2021.
Former first lady Melania Trump and former president of the United States Donald Trump attend Game Four of the World Series between the Houston Astros and the Atlanta Braves in Atlanta, Oct. 30, 2021.
Elsa/Getty Images, FILE

Melania also addressed various political issues, echoing her husband in criticizing President Joe Biden's administration on issues including border and immigration policy and the shortage of baby formula, which she called "heartbreaking."

Like former President Trump, Melania spoke obliquely -- teasingly -- about a 2024 bid for office. "Never say never," she said.

She was not asked and did not address the Trump family's ongoing legal issues and investigations, including the congressional probe of the pro-Trump Jan. 6 Capitol riot and a related effort to overturn the 2020 election results.

The former president denied any wrongdoing; he has cast the investigations as politically motivated witch hunts.

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