Does Melania Trump really speak five languages? Maybe not, suggests new biography

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Does Melania Trump really speak five languages? Maybe not, suggest a new biography

“Grazie”, “hello” and “my name is Melania” are dimensions that a biographer and others have found, where Melania Trump is heard using her self-proclaimed multilingual abilities.

Some Melania Trump critics even thought it outrageous to make fun of Bette Midler’s accent as she delivered her speech to the Republican National Convention on Tuesday.

After Midler tweeted, “Oh my god. He still can’t speak English,” Melania Trump fans accused the artist of being xenophobic. They also tried to defend the Slovenian-born first lady by repeating the popular claim that she was fluent in more than one language.

“He speaks five languages,” tweeted right-wing commentator Dinesh D’Souza and many others.

A Twitter user claimed that President Donald Trump’s wife is fluent in six languages.

Midler apologized on Wednesday and tweeted that making fun of Melania Trump’s accent was wrong, adding that “America is made up of people who speak with all kinds of accents.”

But her tweet rekindled the debate over Melania Trump’s immigration story. It also brought to light questions about whether the First Lady really spoke five (or six) languages.

A Washington Post reporter’s First Lady biography and other reports, published in June, explored whether Melania Trump was truly fluent in any language other than her native Slovenian and learned English. The First Lady said she also speaks French, Italian and German.

Mary Jordan, author of “The Art of Her Deal: The Untold Story of Melania Trump,” wrote that she was unable to independently verify the extent of Melania Trump’s language skills.

“I couldn’t find any video showing that he was fluent in any language other than Slovenian and English,” Jordan wrote. “I asked the White House if they could show any evidence and they didn’t respond,” he said.

Jordan reports in her book that she saw Melania Trump rely on translators during her diplomatic visits to Italy and France. Videos of these visits show the First Lady using a few universally known simple words like “hello” and “ciao” when meeting with European statesmen or visiting children in hospitals and schools.

Melania Trump’s White House biography doesn’t list fluency in multiple languages ​​among her accomplishments, which include being a “very successful role model”, traveling with her husband, visiting children, and launching the Be The Best campaign to promote children’s well-being. children.

The future First Lady was born Melania Knauss in 1970 in Slovenia, part of the former Yugoslavia. She first moved to Milan for her modeling career in the early 1990s, then came to the United States in 1996.

The idea that Melania Trump speaks multiple languages ​​goes back to at least 2000, when she dated Trump and posed as a Bond girl-type figure in a racy photo series for British GQ titled “Sex at 30,000 Feet: Melania Knauss Earns Air Miles.” The accompanying copy of the GQ publication suggests that Melania is “fluent in four languages.”

The text suggests that such capabilities could be “very handy for these high-level meetings.” CNN reporter Kate Bennett wrote a biography of the First Lady in “Free Melania.”

Melania Trump bragged about her language skills during her 2016 presidential campaign. In February 2016 she sat down for an interview with MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski to discuss her modeling career. She also stated that she speaks English, Italian, French, German and Slovenian.

Jordan said Melania Trump also told her in 2016 that she spoke all these languages. Since then, news and social media have continued to say that he is multilingual, with some reports adding that he speaks fluent Serbian.

Trying to validate Melania Trump’s language skills, Jordan said she spoke to people who worked with her during her modeling days. Melania Trump came to work in Vienna, where her mother tongue is German, in 1993. But modeling agent Wolfgang Schwarz told Jordan that Melania spoke so little German that they spoke English together.

Does Melania Trump really speak five languages Maybe not suggests Does Melania Trump really speak five languages? Maybe not, suggests new biography

Jordan said he has also spoken to photographers and others who have worked with Melania Trump over the years. Some speak Italian, French and German as mother tongues, but said they had never heard him use more than a few words in these languages.

Jordan reported that Melania Trump’s fluency in Italian was not evident when she visited the Vatican in May 2017 as part of her husband’s first official overseas trip. When Pope Francis reached Melania, he said in English, “Thanks. Nice to meet you.”

The Pope has been informed that Melania Trump can supposedly speak Italian. She tongued and gently asked if she could feed her husband potica, a traditional Slovenian pastry.

“She looked at him and said nothing,” Jordan wrote. Francis stepped forward and pointed to his interpreter, who was translating the pope’s words into English. Melania finally replied and laughed, ‘Potica, yes!’ »

When a papal aide presented Melania Trump with a rosary to be blessed by the Pope, she again replied in English, “Oh, I would love to, thank you. Grazie.” She added another Italian word, she, while answering the Pope’s question about her next stop in English. “I am going to visit a hospital for toddlers. Thank you so much.”

Jordan wrote that Melania Trump may have been too in love with Francis to try her Italian, or that she didn’t want to be rude and exclude President Trump and his daughter-in-law, Ivanka Trump, from meeting with the Pope.

Or, Jordan said, Melania Trump may have taken a page from Trump’s playbook: “To overdo it if it builds the brand and polishes the image.”

Jordan said the “narrative” of Melania Trump, who has extensive language skills, is in line with Trump’s desire to make her the new Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. After all, the cosmopolitan wife of President John F. Kennedy during a visit to the Vatican in 1962, Pope XXIII.

During her visit to Italy in 2017, Melania Trump also spoke entirely in English when she sat next to an Italian mayor at lunch with the wives of the G7 leaders, Jordan reported. Two months later, headlines of the First Lady’s visit to a children’s hospital in Paris in July 2017 caused her to speak French to young patients.

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But even a Daily Telegraph video titled “Melania Trump speaks French” doesn’t show the first lady saying more than “Hello” and “My name is Melania.” The video also asked a kid, “What’s your name?” she indicates back to English when she asks. She also praises the boy for speaking “very good English”.

Jordan reports that two years later, Melania Trump attended the G7 summit in Biarritz, France, and used translation headphones to listen to French President Emmanuel Macron’s speech.

Jordan reports that at least one reporter from CNN commentator Keith Boykin has finally identified a problem. “Wait,” Boykin said. “I thought Melania Trump was fluent in French.”

This story has been updated to include Bette Midler’s apology for criticizing Melania Trump’s accent.