Why Melania Trump's Thank You Notes To The White House Staff Are Causing A Stir

For a notoriously private person like Melania Trump (or at least, as private as a former model can really be), her very public tenure in the White House hasn't always been easy. And while Melania shied away from drama during her four years as FLOTUS, stirring up at least a little controversy seemed inevitable. It's likely we all remember the "I Really Don't Care" jacket scandal of 2018. And who could forget the leaked tapes that revealed Melania's frustration as she said she was criticized for not doing enough while simultaneously "working her a** off" to decorate the White House for Christmas?

It seems Melania's final days as FLOTUS are fated to be full of backlash, too. In January 2021, the First Lady once more drew public ire, this time for her reticence to address the attack on the Capitol as she was conducting a photoshoot at the time, per The Cut. (She later posted an open letter on the White House website that condemned the day's horrific events.) As of this writing, Melania is being criticized for something seemingly innocuous: her thank you notes to the White House staff. How could something like a thank you letter ruffle feathers? Let's take a closer look.

Melania Trump didn't write her own thank you notes

It is a traditional practice (and good manners) for both presidents and first ladies to write short thank you notes to members of household staff, particularly to staffers with whom they've grown close. For these staff members, the notes can even become "cherished keepsakes," according to a source in the White House, per CNN. However, it appears Melania Trump was not particularly interested in adhering to protocol.

According to CNN, the 80 "butlers, cooks, housekeepers, ushers and maintenance workers," who "do not typically turn over with each administration," did not receive handwritten cards from Melania. Instead, Trump tasked a lower-level East Wing staffer with writing them 'in her voice,' and she signed her name," the outlet claimed. Ouch.

The move appears consistent with the first lady's behavior in recent weeks. Though Melania posted a farewell address that called for "love over hatred," she has largely refrained from commenting on recent White House happenings and has been physically absent from the Trump family's public gatherings. CNN reports that, according to those close to Melania, she is officially "checked out" and "just wants to go home," to the point that she "is not sad to be leaving." In fact, Melania has reportedly been overseeing the packing and shipping of her family's belongings from the White House since early December, according to CNN. Clearly, Melania has chosen to end her time as FLOTUS on her own terms.

Melania Trump reportedly snubbed Jill Biden

In their final act, Melania and Donald Trump decided to skip longtime White House traditions. The Trumps, of course, did not attend Joe Biden's inauguration on Jan. 20, 2021, instead beelining it to their post-presidency home of Mar-a-Lago, Fla., hours before the inaugural proceedings began. Additionally, Melania did not extend an invite to Jill Biden for a customary "tea-and-tour of the White House," per People, which includes a second and third floor White House tour that the Obamas did for the Trumps four years ago.

As it turns out, Melania reportedly did not even reach out to first lady Jill Biden throughout the transition. "I don't think they're doing the traditional protocol. Which is unfortunate, but I think we're all okay with it," Joe and Jill's daughter, Ashley Biden, said on TODAY. Ouch.

If she didn't connect with Jill, what did Melania do during her final White House moments?

Melania Trump's final look as FLOTUS made a statement

Melania Trump may have had a non-traditional goodbye, but she made sure to go out in style — high-priced style, that is. As she boarded the plane to Mar-a-Lago, per the Daily Mail, the former FLOTUS strutted in an all-black outfit consisting of a posh black Chanel jacket, designer sunglasses, Christian Louboutin heels, and a Hermes Birkin bag, worth "upward of $50,000," according to the New York Post. Wow.

Melania's parting address on Inauguration Day was more subdued when compared to her ritzy outfit, with the Slovenia native opting for a simple message. "Being your first lady was my greatest honor — thank you for your love and support," Melania said, per the NYP. "You will be in my thoughts and prayers. God bless you all, God bless your families and God bless this beautiful nation."

So, when will we next hear from Melania? Well, that remains to be seen.