A new task for Donald Trump’s former-supermodel wife Melania — soften his sexist image

Washington — Her home is a penthouse at Trump Tower, designed in the style of Louis XIV, with marble fittings, crystal chandeliers and bird’s eye views of New York’s Central Park.

For a decade, , 45, has lived in relative seclusion in her Manhattan eyrie, remaining quietly in the larger-than-life shadow of her billionaire husband, Donald.

But Mrs. Trump is about to change all that, readying herself to join her husband’s campaign to become the Republican presidential candidate.

Her mission will be to soften Trump’s image by counteracting some of his more incendiary remarks, especially when it comes to women.

Mario Tama/Getty ImagesMario Tama/Getty ImagesMelania Trump, wife of real estate mogul Donald Trump, leaves a Park Avenue polling station after casting her ballot November 7, 2006 in New York City.

At the first Republican debate last month, Megyn Kelly the moderator,
interrogated Trump over his use of terms such as “fat pigs” and “slobs” to describe women. Trump suggested in a later interview that menstruation had been responsible for Kelly’s line of questioning.

The row led to join the attacks on the weekend, claiming he insults and dismisses women. She also mocked his statement that he “cherishes” women.

“If it’s all the same to you, Mr. Trump, I’d rather you stop cherishing women and start respecting women,” she said.

Clinton remains Trump’s most likely opponent should he secure his party’s nomination, despite a new poll showing she has fallen 11 points behind Bernie Sanders in the crucial New Hampshire primary.

Gustavo Caballero/Getty ImagesGustavo Caballero/Getty ImagesDonald Trump, son Barron Trump and Melania Trump attend the Trump Invitational Grand Prix at The Mar-a-Largo Club on January 4, 2015 in Palm Beach, Florida.

Trump responded to Clinton Sunday in characteristic fashion, slagging her for reciting her attack on him using “the biggest teleprompter I’ve ever seen”, rather than speaking with emotion.

Such combativeness has made Trump the star of the Republican campaign trail so far. However, in polls measuring “favourability” he is lagging in sixth place.

To that end, his supporters are counting on the appeal of his wife, on whom he relies heavily for advice and refers to as “my pollster”.

She even appears to have considered what kind of kind of First Lady she would be, telling the New York Times that she “would be very traditional, like Betty Ford or Jackie Kennedy”.

True, neither Mrs. Ford nor Mrs. Kennedy ever appeared in the swimwear issue of Sports Illustrated or posed naked for British GQ, or talked about their “incredible” sex life on a radio show, as Mrs. Trump, a former supermodel, has done.

Mike Ehrmann/Getty ImagesMike Ehrmann/Getty ImagesDonald Trump and his wife Melania attend the Opening Ceremony for the 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 27, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois.

But she studied architecture at university in Slovenia, the country of her birth, and is said to speak four languages. She is also a savvy businesswoman in her own right, with lines of jewellery and caviar-infused skin products.

She has been a much less visible presence than Trump’s first wife, Ivana, who played a key role in his businesses before they divorced in 1992.

So involving her in the election campaign will be taken as a sign that Trump is increasingly confident of success. Far from his campaign imploding as was widely predicted, he has lengthened his lead over rivals. An NBC/Marist Iowa poll Sunday put him at 29 per cent, ahead of Ben Carson at 22%, and Jeb Bush, at just 6%.

Sarah Palin, the 2008 vice-presidential candidate and Tea Party darling, said Sunday that she would like to serve in a Trump cabinet.

Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg<br />
Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg
Melania Trump, wife of Donald Trump, arrives for the White House Correspondents' Association dinner in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Saturday, April 30, 2011.

About Nick Allen and David Lawler, The Telegraph