Lawsuit Reveals Melania Trump Saw Presidency as Potential Profit Machine
Lawyers representing the first lady claim President Trump's wife missed out on 'once in a lifetime' endorsement opportunities because of false escort claims
First Lady Melania Trump on Monday revealed that she had intended to leverage the presidency into a lucrative venture for herself, with plans to establish "multimillion dollar business relationships" during her time as "one of the most photographed women in the world."
An attorney for the first lady filed a lawsuit arguing that Trump had missed out on a "once in a lifetime" opportunity to grab up "licensing, branding, and endorsement" deals because of a Daily Mail article that alleged she had once worked for an escort service.
The Washington Post reports:
The suit—filed Monday in New York Supreme Court, a state trial court, in Manhattan—against Mail Media, the owner of the Daily Mail, said the article published by the Daily Mail and its online division last August caused Trump's brand, Melania, to lose "significant value" as well as "major business opportunities that were otherwise available to her." The suit said the article had damaged her "unique, once in a lifetime opportunity" to "launch a broad-based commercial brand."
"These product categories would have included, among other things, apparel accessories, shoes, jewelry, cosmetics, hair care, skin care, and fragrance," according to the lawsuit, which was filed on Trump's behalf by California attorney Charles Harder.
The lawsuit comes amid numerous ethical issues surrounding the Trumps' attempts to profit off the presidency, from sons Eric and Donald Jr. selling private hunting excursions, to daughter Ivanka auctioning off a coffee date, to Trump himself refusing to divest from his corporate empire.
Richard Painter, a White House ethics counsel under former President George W. Bush who co-filed a lawsuit against President Trump for constitutional violations, told the Post that the first lady's plan to turn her role into a business was troubling.
"There has never been a first lady of the United States who insinuated that she intended to make a lot of money because of the 'once-in-a-lifetime' opportunity of being first lady," he said.