SEOUL, Nov. 14 (Korea Bizwire) – Melania Trump is back in Washington D.C. after accompanying her husband Donald Trump on his trip to Asia, but her charm and soft power that appealed to the South Korean public linger on.
The First Lady returned to the U.S. after visiting Japan, South Korea and China with U.S. President Donald Trump, while her husband continued on his Asian tour with a stop in Vietnam where he attended the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.
In between President Trump’s twitter gaffes and headline grabbing comments, however, was First Lady Melania Trump, a Slovenian-born former model, whose fashion choice and soft image have compensated for the lack of traditional presidential character in her husband.
During President Trump’s state visit to South Korea, the first lady told South Korean First Lady Kim Jung-sook that she feels like she’s been put ‘under the microscope’ since her husband took office.
In an exchange with Kim, Trump also said that members of the public who look to her during a hard time are her motivation.
As the conversation disclosed by the Blue House gives a rare glimpse into a more vulnerable and personal side of the U.S. First Lady, a shift has been felt in the South Korean public’s perception, with many showing empathy towards Trump, who has been subject to her fair share of media scrutiny, often due to her bombastic husband.
Contrary to President Trump, whose state visit was met with major protests in South Korea over his hardline rhetoric against North Korea, the public sentiment towards Melania Trump was widely positive on the internet while the two were visiting the country.
President Trump’s first visit to South Korea spawned a string of articles by major newspapers focusing on the U.S. First Lady, and many of the comments found on Naver reflected the impact of his wife’s soft diplomatic power on the South Korean public.
“Melania is one of the most underrated U.S. First Ladies because of her modeling career. She’s more thoughtful than many people think. Having been born in a different country, she’s capable of putting herself in other people’s shoes and paying attention to detail,” a comment left by user named ‘uniq****’ read.
The first lady’s smiles also seem to have helped charm the South Korean public.
In a video which went viral, Trump was seen beaming a bright smile alongside Choi Min-ho, a member of K-pop group Shinee, while the two met with schoolchildren during the Girls Play 2 initiative launch, an Olympic public diplomacy and outreach program.
“Melania seems to have a warm heart, despite appearing cold,” one comment read, reflecting a public opinion shift on the first lady.
Trump’s fashion sense also played a role in creating soft diplomatic power that her husband, America’s commander-in-chief, is often accused of lacking.
Standing as tall as her husband – who is 188 cm tall – while wearing heels, the first lady is known for always cutting a slim and stylish figure.
The first lady’s impeccable fashion style often involves luxury brands like Dior, which she wore to meet Japanese Emperor Akihito at Tokyo’s Imperial Palace, drawing a sharp contrast with her predecessor Michelle Obama, who was known for more affordable fashion choices.
She was also seen sporting a wide range of dresses with varying designs alongside her husband during the visit to Asia.
Trump sported a qipao-inspired Gucci dress in Beijing as she attended the state dinner hosted by President Xi Jinping.
During the state visit in Seoul, the first lady was seen wearing a burgundy oversized coat from Spanish fashion brand Delpozo, coupled with bright blue high heels, as well as a see-through dress which she wore for the state dinner, garnering praise for her successful fashion diplomacy from the local media during President Trump’s Asia visit.
Hyunsu Yim (firstname.lastname@example.org)