How do Melania Trump and Jill Biden’s FLOTUS styles compare? Jill champions US designers and cancer research while Melania gave us the Zara jacket controversy and Be Best campaign
The backdrop of flowers, teapot and US flag said it all: Jill Biden will be no Melania Trump as America’s new first lady.
“It’s hard for me to believe it’s only been two weeks since the inauguration and already I’ve had so much to do,” she said.
“I learned my love of this country from my dad,” Jill, 69, said, recalling the ritual of accompanying her veteran father to a war memorial.
Instead, Melania’s extravagant clothing often got the real attention.
Jill, who is keeping her day job as English teacher at Northern Virginia Community College, appeared last week on Zoom in a sensible-looking dark suit jacket.
She did wear designer duds at her husband’s January 20 inauguration, but rather than fancy European brands, she picked the New York-based label Markarian.
Jill appears to be signalling: yes, she does.
First ladies have the odd position of being married to the most powerful man in the country, but without a formal public role. So usually they pick a topic to focus on, using the power of publicity rather than law to bring change.
In Jill’s case, there are three topics that all have the extra heft of being deeply personal.
The first is building support for military families, a community that she knew well as mother of the late Beau, who went to Iraq with the US National Guard.
The second strand is promoting support for cancer patients and research – a topic that Beau’s death from brain cancer in 2015 seared into the Biden family identity.
The third draws on her lifelong career in education. She was marking student papers right through her husband’s tense presidential campaign and she makes history as a first lady with a paying job beyond the White House walls.
“That’s my passion,” she told People magazine in a joint interview with Joe Biden. “That’s my life.”
One more difference?
The state of the relationship between Donald Trump and Melania, his third wife, was a constant source of gossip.
The Bidens, though, are threatening to leave the tabloids empty-handed.
“After 43 years of marriage there’s really not that much more to fight about,” Jill told People.
- On the day Donald Trump left the White House and Joe Biden entered it, Melania sported a black Chanel jacket while Jill wore a vibrant blue Markarian outfit
- Jill has also chosen to support deeply personal causes, including aiding military families; her late son Beau was a veteran