Former first lady Melania Trump has lashed out at Vogue (and the magazine’s editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour) for putting Jill Biden on the front cover of the magazine, yet failing to do the same for her while husband, Donald Trump, was in office. In her first interview since leaving the White House , Melania Trump told Fox Nation that she believes media bias against her is the reason for the discrepancy.
Interviewer Pete Hegseth took a moment to outline the purported bias against her. ‘We did a little research. You were the only first lady to go to the border. You did it twice,’ Hegseth began. ‘How did you put up with the constant criticism?’
‘Take Vogue, for example — five months into Joe Biden’s presidency, Jill Biden’s on the cover. [Vice President] Kamala Harris is on the cover before she’s even sworn in. Hillary Clinton was on the cover when she was first lady. Michelle was on the cover three times. Yet with your business background and your fashion background and your beauty, never on the cover of Vogue. Why the double standard?’, Hegseth inquired.
‘They’re biased and they have likes and dislikes, and it’s so obvious. And I think American people and everyone sees 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,’ Melania said in response.
Melania did once make the cover of Vogue (pictured), back in February 2005, when the Conde Nast title scored exclusive shots of her in her wedding dress as she married Donald. Five years prior to that, she starred in a scandalous cover shoot for British GQ when she was still known by her maiden name, Melania Knauss. She was also offered a Vogue shoot shortly after Trump came to power, but refused to accept after the magazine said it could not guarantee her the cover, her former fixer Stephanie Winston-Wolkoff has claimed.
Other conservative first ladies including both Laura (pictured right with her daughter Jenna) and Barbara Bush were denied the chance of a vogue cover, sparking accusations of liberal bias.
More recently, she covered the February 2017 issue of Vanity Fair Mexico (pictured), though the story and photos were recycled from a profile featured in GQ in April 2016. Both publications share the same parent company as Vogue, Condé Nast.
Wintour never explicitly said she would not have Mrs. Trump on the cover again, but she had suggested that she wasn’t interested in doing so.
Anna Wintour (pictured with the Trump’s in 2005) – who has been outspoken in her criticism of Trump and his administration – suggested in 2019 that she would not feature Melania again, telling Christiane Amanpour : ‘Those of us that work at Conde Nast believe that you have to stand up for what you believe in and you have to take a point of view.’ Melania’s former spokesperson Stephanie Grisham then hit back, insisting that being ‘on the cover of Vogue doesn’t define Mrs. Trump’, adding that she had ‘been there, done that long before she was First Lady’.
The distinction of appearing on the front cover was afforded to her predecessor Michelle Obama on three occasions, first in February 2009 (pictured), less than a month after President Obama’s inauguration, then again in 2013, and finally in November 2016.
The only other First Lady to appear on the cover before Michelle Obama was Hillary Clinton in 1998. A shoot inside the magazine’s pages has become something of a tradition for Presidents’ wives that began with Lou Henry Hoover in 1929. Eleanor Roosevelt, Mamie Eisenhower, Jackie Kennedy, Lady Bird Johnson, Pat Nixon, Betty Ford, Rosalynn Carter, Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush, and Laura Bush, all appeared in the pages of Vogue during their husband’s respective presidencies.
Melania’s absence from the publication, along with the US’s other major glossy magazines, sparked fury from Trump and the Republicans throughout his presidency. Trump would regularly blast them for failing to give his wife a cover. Weeks before he was due to leave the White House, the then-President made his outrage known by tweeting a comment from right-wing publication Breitbart, which called out the ‘elitist snobs in the fashion press’ with Trump adding that Melania is ‘the greatest of all time’ and blasting the magazines as ‘fake news’.
When Vice President Kamala Harris appeared on the magazine’s front cover in January 2021, it wasn’t without controversy after the magazine made the decision to swap out her chosen image for another photo at the last minute. Harris’ debut for the magazine sparked outrage when it was published with hundreds of social media users hitting out at Vogue and Wintour, accusing them of ‘lightening’ the the VP-elect’s skin in the images.
Harris had thought her preferred image (pictured)- which shows the VP-elect in a powder blue suit – would be used on the cover, and said she was only made aware that the more ‘casual’ photo of her wearing Converse Chuck Taylor sneakers had been swapped in when the cover was leaked online. Despite the backlash, Harris said that she hoped the cover would serve as an ‘inspiration’ to people of all genders, races, and ages, and demonstrate that ‘your dreams are achievable.’
Months later, in August 2021 Jill Biden graved the cover, complete with a lengthy profile praising her as ‘a goddess’ and ‘a joy multiplier’. The issue featured a gushing 6,000-word profile about her, as well as several dazzling photos taken at the White House by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz, who also snapped former First Ladies Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton when they posed for their own covers of the magazine.