Melania Trump can’t compete with her husband when it comes to egregious acts of greed, corruption, and wanton cruelty, but she is holding her own these days in the weird scandal department. A pair of shady endeavors is raising questions and eyebrows as Melania fails to offer satisfactory answers. Though unrelated, Melania’s two new scandals suggest she is trying to make a dishonest and possibly illegal buck through unusually sly methods.
The first scandal is about an “exclusive high tea” event planned for April in Naples, Florida. Ticket prices range from $3,000 to $50,000, with an unspecified amount of the proceeds going to charity. The charity in question is “Fostering the Future, a Be Best Initiative,” which aims to confer computer science scholarships to children who have grown up in the foster care system. So far, so good.
The problem is that Florida law requires any organization that solicits donations to be registered. Neither “Fostering the Future” nor “Be Best,” which was the name of Melania’s public-awareness campaign while in the White House, are registered, according to reporting from The New York Times. Florida is now investigating the high tea, which prompted Melania to tweet a sadly predictable fake-news defense: “Dishonest reporting at it again. Everything has been done lawfully, & all documents are in the works. Read with caution-typical corrupt media.”
In another development, early last week, Vice looked at the blockchain records of a $170,000 purchase of a non-fungible token (NFT) “Head of State Collection, 2022” that Melania auctioned in January. According to a press release, an undisclosed amount would, similarly, go toward helping foster care children gain access to computer science and technology education. The records, however, reveal something curious: Melania’s NFT collection was purchased by none other than… Melania (or at least her team).
Melania’s office failed to offer a more plausible explanation for “the bizarre chain of transactions and multiple wallets… or why the winning bid of a public crypto auction was facilitated by the creators of the auction and turned out to be the exact minimum amount.” A new Bloomberg analysis released Wednesday suggests it could be “wash trading,” when someone simultaneously buys and sells the same asset, possibly triggering an artificial rise in price. Although wash trading is illegal with securities and futures, NFTs are a new asset class in an unregulated market.
While Worst Lady Melania Trump grabs headlines with her latest scandals, First Lady Jill Biden is charting quite a different course. This week, she was headed to New York to “tape segments of Sesame Street’s upcoming season and Sesame Workshop’s social impact and military family initiatives,” according to the White House. She is then visiting Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa as part of the Biden administration’s renewed “Cancer Moonshot” initiative to fight cancer. Indeed, Melania Trump and Jill Biden could not present a more striking study in contrasts.