Melania's Absence At 2024 Debate Is The Cherry On Trump's Humiliating Marriage

Another day, another critical event, and Melania Trump's plans for the campaign trail are still more unclear than ever. The former first lady seems determined to sit out her husband Donald Trump's latest presidential bid, leaving us all wondering if there's trouble in paradise or if she simply has better things to do than dabble in politics.

Just before the first 2024 presidential campaign event kicked off, CNN confirmed Melania was once again MIA. "We are just now learning more about the whereabouts of the woman who is not in this picture: The former first lady, Melania Trump. Where is she?" CNN anchor Erin Burnett said. Staying clear of her husband's hush money trial is one thing, but dodging the entire campaign? That's a whole other story. While she stood by Donald when he launched his campaign in 2022, she has been conspicuously absent from rallies and primary wins. Her only appearances? Fundraisers, where the goal was to reel in more donors. On the flip side, Dr. Jill Biden has been a constant presence, cheering on Joe Biden and boosting his morale. "We're almost there. I know Joe's ready to go," she said at a fundraising event in Atlanta. "He's prepared; he's confident. You've all seen him today. You know what a great debater he is."

And Melania? Who knows when or if she'll show up next. Per experts, her absence is meant to send a message.

Expert says Melania's scarce appearances are 'intentional'

In September 2023, Donald Trump told the media that it was his idea for Melania Trump to be absent from the majority of his campaign trail to shield her from the potential vitriol she might face. "Honestly, I like to keep her away from it," he told "Meet the Press" host Kristen Welker (via The Daily Beast). "It's so nasty and so mean." He was confident, though, that Melania would be joining him at some point, saying at the time that fans could expect to see her hit the road with him "pretty soon."

But surprise, surprise, that didn't happen, with Melania choosing to funnel her efforts into raising Barron Trump ahead of his college plans instead of supporting her husband. According to journalist Mary Jordan, author of "The Art of Her Deal: The Untold Story of Melania Trump," her strategic appearances (and notable absences) are far more deliberate than they appear. "It's not going to be in volume but you'll see her at key moments," she told The Guardian. "She likes to heighten the interest in her appearances by being scarce. It's very intentional, like a movie star who doesn't want exposure. She's hyper-aware of her persona and her celebrity. This is a model who learned to get covers of magazines so she wants to be in control."

Does Melania even want Donald to return to the White House?

Some speculate that Melania Trump is avoiding the campaign trail because she has zero interest in another stint as first lady or setting foot in the White House again. However, sources close to the Trumps paint a different picture, claiming Melania is actually eager to return to the role and believes she can handle it better the second time around.

"Trump and his family are so secure that he will become president again that insiders at Mar-a-Lago say he's reached an agreement with Melania to step up top-tier diplomatic appearances in 2024," the insider divulged to Page Six in December 2023. "[Melania] is feeling more sure of herself — as both her husband's representative and her own position as a diplomatic figure." Apparently, she's also determined to make more of an impact, since she no longer has to dote as much on Barron, who's headed to college soon. "Melania realizes it's her time to join the ranks of historic first ladies and leave her mark on history ... She feels better prepared."

Melania hasn't confirmed any of this, of course, but she's been vocal about her unwavering support for her husband — even if she's not physically present at campaign events. "My husband achieved tremendous success in his first administration, and he can lead us toward greatness and prosperity once again," she told Fox News. "He has my support, and we look forward to restoring hope for the future and leading America with love and strength."