U.S.

Melania Trump's Popularity Sunk Because She's Embracing Fox News and President's Aggressive Rhetoric: Expert

First lady Melania Trump’s popularity is taking a nosedive because she has been embracing Fox News and using rhetoric similar to that of her husband President Donald Trump, according to an expert on first ladies. 

Melania Trump was once the most popular member of her family, but a CNN poll released on Thursday showed that only 43 percent of respondents viewed her favorably, down from 54 percent in October and about the same as her husband's latest approval rating of 42.2 percent by FiveThirtyEight.

Her popularity has been dipping because she was “overly political" in a sit-down interview with Fox News, "in recent statements and she seems to be, as many people noted, adopting all of the West Wing Trump aggressive language," Lauren Wright, author of On Behalf of the President: Presidential Spouses and White House Communications Strategy Today published in 2016, told Newsweek on Friday.

Melania Trump went along with her husband's "fake news" narrative on Fox News Wednesday.

"People that don’t know me, they like to say I watch television—people with fake sources,” the first lady said.

Wright, a politics and public affairs lecturer at Princeton University, said that Melania Trump's increased presence on-air signals desperation in the Trump administration. 

“The uptick in interviews, in negative statements, in combativeness that we’ve seen lately suggests to me that the White House has finally thought, OK, we need all of our troops here, we need all of our resources and we need to deploy Melania finally," Wright said. 

But Wright said Melania Trump did not really accomplish anything by going on Fox News because "that audience really, really, likes and supports her, so she’s not even really succeeding at reaching a new audience.”

12_14_18_MelaniaDipped First lady Melania Trump boards an Air Force plane before traveling to Texas to visit facilities that house and care for children taken from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border June 21, 2018, at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. Her approval rating dipped below 50 percent to close to her husband's. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

First ladies are generally more popular than presidents and vice presidents and their favorability rarely dips below 50 percent, Wright said. It hasn't happened much since Hillary Clinton's popularity dropped because she was promoting the controversial Health Security Act. 

Whether Melania Trump should be concerned about her popularity drop goes back to whether she cares. 

Her “public actions so far say she doesn’t really care about much and that her husband needs to be responsible for his own actions and his own mistakes," Wright said. "But if she wants to be the biggest help she can be and try to put a positive face on the White House then she should care very much.”

Wright added that Melania Trump's campaign of choice "Be Best" to help children and fight cyberbullying “might suggest a lack of caring about the president’s policy agenda because it’s largely unrelated.” 

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